By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent Commonwealth Journal
Defensive errors and base running have been Somerset’s Achilles heel so far in the 2013 high school baseball season.
In a 12th Region match-up with Lincoln County on Saturday afternoon at Charlie Taylor Field, those two facets of the game were what hurt the Briar Jumpers the most. In part to four errors and poor base running in the third and fourth innings, the visiting Lincoln County Patriots were able to down the Jumpers by a score of 8-7.
“What killed us the most was the same thing that’s been biting us a lot so far this season, which is base running,” began Somerset head coach Phil Grundy. “We gave up two runs at the plate, whether they were safe or not - they should have stayed there. We didn’t play defense today, as we committed four errors. Right now, we’re averaging about five errors per game. If you make five errors a game, you can’t beat quality teams.”
Somerset opened the day with a 10-3 victory over the Eagles of Madison Southern on Saturday morning, but unfortunately for the Jumpers, they could not do the same in their second game of the afternoon.
“We came out and played good in the first game against Madison Southern,” told the veteran coach. “We put pressure on them and played defense well. We stole a lot of bases and hit the ball well. I was hoping we would come out in the second game and carry the momentum over from the first game. The first couple of innings, our batters got behind in the count and swung at bad pitches.”
Lincoln County would led by as much as four runs in the contest, but the Jumpers used a late-game surge to get the score to back within a lone run at 8-7. However, it would not be enough, as the loss moved Somerset’s record to an even .500 at 3-3.
The Patriots jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top half of the opening frame thanks to an RBI double from John Day. In the bottom part of the inning, Somerset would respond with a pair of runs of their own, as a double Hayden Fox allowed Jacob Pelston and Will Lange to score.
After scoring a run in the second inning, the Patriots added three more in the following frame to run out to a 6-2 advantage over the Jumpers. A three-run home run from Zach Brown would do the trick in the inning, allowing Lincoln County to jump out to a four-run lead.
In the bottom of the third inning, Lange, after stealing second and third base, would tally Somerset’s third run of the contest to cut the Lincoln County lead to three at 6-3. Fox came up with a big hit once again, as Addison Thompson would score on his second double of the ballgame to lessen the Lincoln County lead to a pair of runs.
Each team would score a lone in the fourth inning, making the score 7-5, in favor of the Patriots. Somerset could have scored more than a run, but a pair of base running miscues kept the Jumpers off the board.
The Patriots, once again, took advantage of another Somerset error to take an 8-5 lead over Somerset after six innings in the books.
In the bottom of the seventh frame, Somerset tallied a pair of runs and even had the bases loaded, but they wouldn’t have enough to the win the game or send it into extra innings.
Grundy felt like his team’s intensity hurt their performance in the one-run loss to the Patriots.
It’s disappointing anytime you lose to someone in the region,” stated the Jumper skipper. “I don’t like to lose to other 12th Region teams, because that means you’re not the best team in the region. Maybe this loss will humble a lot of kids.”
Fox led the charge for Somerset, going a perfect 4-for-4, including two doubles and four RBI’s. Chandler Purcell chimed in with three hits (one double) and Will Hislope had two hits (one double).
Heath Ehrsam was saddled with the loss on the mound for Somerset. In the six-inning performance, the Somerset senior had eight strikeouts.
The Jumpers are scheduled to return to action tonight, hosting West Jessamine at 5:30 p.m. at Charlie Taylor Field.
LC - 2 1 3 1 0 1 0 - 8 6 3
SHS - 2 0 2 1 0 0 2 - 7 11 4
WP: Estes (LC)
LP: Ehrsam (SHS)
S: Brown (LC)
2B: Day (LC); Fox 2, Purcell, Hislope (SHS)
HR: Brown (LC)
RBI: Brown 3, Poynter 2, Day (LC); Fox 4, Jones (SHS)