By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
It has been a while since Somerset has tasted victory against long-time rival Danville. In fact, the Briar Jumpers’ last win against the Danville Admirals came on April 8, 2009, when Phil Grundy’s squad downed their rival by a score of 7-2.
Since that April 2009 meeting, the series has been one-sided, as Danville came into the year having won five straight games against the ‘Purple and Gold.’
Somerset came into Wednesday evening’s finals of the 12th Region All “A” Classic hoping to change that. Unfortunately for the Jumpers, that did not happen, as Paul Morse and the Admirals came away with a 6-3 win at Charlie Taylor Field, allowing them to advance to the All “A” State Tournament.
Just as it has been the case all-year long for Somerset, multiple errors and lack of intensity would be the story, which left Grundy disappointed after the three-run loss.
“It’s the same old song and dance with this group,” began the veteran Somerset coach. “We felt like we’ve been better than them for the past few years, but they always outplay us and want it more than we do. I don’t want to get emotional over one loss, but that’s been the sign for the past two or three years.”
Early on it looked as if the Jumpers would end their losing streak to Danville, as junior pitcher Charlie Dishman, who finished with 13 strikeouts, struck out the first two batters of the ballgame. After a walk and a single, a Somerset player dropped a fly ball, which then allowed two runs to score.
Somerset would bounce back from the first inning miscue, as they plated a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame to tie the ballgame up at 2-2. Sophomore Kenny Spear, pinch-running for junior Jacob Pelston (walk), scored the Jumpers’ first run of the night on a single from junior Bryson Jones. Jones would later score on the first of two doubles from junior Hayden Fox.
The Admirals took advantage of a pair of Somerset errors in the top portion of the second inning, scoring four runs to run out to a four-run, 6-2 lead over the homestanding Jumpers. Just like the first inning, each of the four runs in the frame would be scored with two outs on the scoreboard.
Somerset would get one run in the sixth inning, cutting the Admiral lead to three runs at 6-3. Fox led off the frame with a double and later scored on a groundout from senior Heath Ehrsam.
The Jumpers failed to make a comeback over the course of the final two innings, as they fell to the Admirals, 6-3. With the loss, Somerset’s record fell to 10-5 and their six-game winning streak came to a halt.
Following the contest, Grundy explained that some adjustments may take place if things don’t improve soon.
“I’m not taking the blame for this and the rest of our coaches aren’t taking the blame for this – this is on the players,” told the Jumpers skipper. “At some point, we are going to have to play different guys from the bottom up. Our junior varsity team has got some guys with some ability and our middle school team has got some guys with some ability. If we have to, we’ll just move on to them.”
A bright spot in the game for the Jumpers was the pitching of Dishman, who Grundy said is one of best pitchers in the entire 12th Region following the game.
In seven innings, Dishman struck out 13 batters and gave up four hits. Of all six runs scored in the game, all six were unearned.
Somerset, who finished the game with five hits, was led in hitting by Pelston and Fox, who each had two hits. Fox had two doubles and two RBI’s, while Pelston banged out two singles. Jones, meanwhile, had an RBI single in the loss.
The Jumpers were scheduled to return to action last night in a 47th District match-up against cross-town rival Pulaski County at Charlie Taylor Field. Heading into the contest with the Maroons, Somerset was 1-0 in district play after a 17-0 win over Casey County on Monday evening.
DAN – 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 – 6 4 2
SHS – 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 – 3 5 3
WP – Serey (DAN)
LP – Dishman (SHS)
2B – Williams (DAN); Fox 2 (SHS)
RBI – Williams 2 (DAN); Dishman, Fox, Ehrsam (SHS)