In the fishing world we often hear about ‘the one that got away.’
On Friday, April 11, the Bryan County High baseball team went through that as they lost to visiting ECI 5-3.
And it doesn’t help that it makes for their fifth straight loss.
In the last five games, the Redskins bats have only been able to produce 11 runs which averages out to just over 2 runs per game. Coach Al Butler knows that kind of production is not going to get you many wins no matter what level of baseball you are competing in.
"As I’ve said before, our goal at the beginning of the season was to hold the opposing team to 5-6 runs and then score more than they do, but we are struggling at the plate right now. We’re not scoring more than our opponents, so we are only achieving part of our goal. I would like to see our batters be more aggressive and have more confidence when they go to bat."
Neither team could get much going offensively for the first two innings until Bryan County cleanup hitter, Cameron Lee, put the Redskins up 1-0 with a round tripper over the left field wall. ECI answered back with a couple of hits in the top of the third, and a throwing error on a ground ball sent their first run of the game across home plate to tie the game 1-1.
The bottom of the third saw Tyler Moody and Kurt Shuman get back to back hits. Shuman then stole second to put runners on second and third, but the next two hitters flied out to end the inning, leaving runners stranded.
With starting pitcher Justin Covington settling in and keeping the ECI bats fairly quiet, the top of the fourth started with a swinging strikeout by the first batter, but the ball bounced past the catcher and the runner advanced safely to first. A fielder’s choice moved the runner to second and the next batter singled to put ECI ahead 2-1.
Covington then picked the runner off of first and followed with a fly out to end the inning. Bryan County went down 1,2,3 in the bottom of the fourth and quickly put the bats back in the hands of the Bulldogs.
Covington started the fifth with another third strike swing, but the ball once again scooted away from catcher Cody Crowe, and the runner made it safely to first base. The very next batter wiffed at the third strike pitch, but once again a passed ball, followed by another passed ball combined with two stolen bases, then another passed ball soon had the third ECI run on the board. With passed ball runners on the bases, the next batter singled in one of those runners to make it 4-1 before the inning ended.
Justin Pruitt led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and Chad Klopp followed with an infield hit to put runners on first and second. This time it was a passed ball by ECI that moved Pruitt and Klopp to second and third before another passed ball allowed Pruitt to score from third to make the score 4-2. Moody drew a walk before Shuman struck out to bring up Garrett Riggleman who laid down a successful suicide squeeze bunt that scored Klopp. The inning ended without further damage and Bryan County had pulled within one to make it 4-3 going into the sixth inning.
The sixth saw both teams leave runners stranded without any run production and ECI made a pitching change as Nolan McGowan came in to pitch for the Bulldogs. The first ECI hitter grounded out, but the next hitter singled to get on first. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second with two outs. Covington got the next batter to hit a grounder, but a Redskin throwing error allowed a run to score to make it 5-3 before Covington struck out his fifth batter of the game.
Moody led off and quickly found himself on first base due to a walk. After a strikeout by Shuman, Riggleman grounded into a double play for the final two outs and ECI came away victorious with a final score of 5-3.
Bryan County had six hits and three runs, but their four errors came back to haunt them as ECI had five hits, five runs (only one earned run) with no errors. Next up, Bryan County will play host to Montgomery County tonight at home, 5 p.m. start.