By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
After jumping out to an early, 6-0 margin over Somerset, the West Jessamine Colts looked as if they would roll to an easy victory.
Not so fast though.
Phil Grundy’s Somerset Briar Jumpers roared all the way back from a six-run deficit to tie the ballgame up at 6-6, sending the contest into extra innings. Unfortunately for the homestanding Jumpers, the visiting Colts would eek out two runs in the top of the eighth inning to win by a final tally of 8-6.
The score could have been much different if Somerset capitalized on their opportunities at the plate. In fact, the ‘Purple and Gold’ had 13 strikeouts as a team and stranded nine runners on the base paths.
“Guys are not adjusting from one at-bat to the next,” began the veteran Jumper skipper. “We’ve got to battle one through nine - everybody’s got to have a plan when they step into the batter’s box. We’ve got to toughen up mentally, because we’ve got guys who are passive at the plate and then turn around and make excuses.”
On the defensive side, Somerset walked six batters and committed five errors.
“Our defense has been shaky all-year long, and tonight we had five errors,” Grundy said. “These are outs that are being taken away, making our pitchers work twice as hard. With that being said, I was proud of Isaac Stephens and the other guys who came in for us. We played well enough in the final five innings to come back and win, but we didn’t get a ball out of the infield when we needed it.”
The Colts jumped out to a six-run lead thanks to the hot bat of Trey Merida, who came up with a two-run triple in second frame to put his team ahead, 2-0. Also in the inning, Merida and Tyler Adams would each score on a two-run single from Jake Purkins, allowing the Colts to grab a 4-0 advantage.
In the inning, all four runs came with two outs on the scoreboard. Merida had a big game for the Colts, finishing with a game-high four RBI’s and a single away from the cycle.
Merida and the Colts would strike again in the top half of the fourth inning to take a 6-0 lead over the homestanding Jumpers. With one out, Merida sent a ball over the right field fence for a two-run blast.
Somerset responded with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom portion of the inning to cut the Colts lead to four runs at 6-2. Kross Grundy, pinch running for Logan Ramsey after he singled, tallied the Jumpers’ first run of the evening on a single from Heath Ehrsam. Chandler Purcell, who reached on a single, plated Somerset’s second run of the inning on contact from Will Hislope.
The Jumpers added another pair of runs in the fifth inning to lessen the West Jessamine lead to two runs at 6-4. Addison Thompson (walk) and Logan Combs were both able to make it around the bases on a single from pinch hitter Justin Smith.
In the sixth inning, Zack Dishman, pinch running for Isaac Stephens, scored on a wild pitch to lessen the lead to a lone run at 6-5. In the seventh frame, the Jumpers, despite getting the bases loaded with no outs, scored one run to tie the game up at 6-6, meaning the game would go into extra innings.
Lane Brooks and Merida both scored their run of the evening on a two-run double from Adams, who gave the Colts an 8-6 lead in the top of the eighth inning. Somerset would fail to score in the bottom half of the frame, clinching the ballgame for West Jessamine.
Stephens, who finished the game off for the Jumpers, was saddled with the loss. In his three-inning outing, the Jumper freshman gave up two unearned runs on a pair of hits and had a strikeout. Ehrsam, who pitched the first five innings for the Jumpers, had three strikeouts in a no decision.
At the plate, Thompson and Jacob Pelston led the charge with two hits each.
Somerset, who fell 16-10 with the loss to the Colts, was back in action last night against Glasgow. Look for details of the Glasgow-Somerset game in Saturday’s edition of the Commonwealth Journal.
WJ - 0 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 - 8 6 2
SHS - 0 0 0 2 2 1 1 0 - 6 9 5
W - Jones (WJ)
L - Stephens (SHS)
2B - Adams (WJ); Pelston, Dishman (SHS)
3B - Trey Merida (WJ)
HR - Trey Merida (WJ)
RBI - Trey Merida 4, Adams 2, Purkins 2 (WJ); Smith 2, Ehrsam, Hislope (SHS)