Sixth inning letdown spells loss for Sullivan
by Kirk Whitaker
“Walks killed us today, and it was our entire pitching staff, not just one player,” Redskins baseball head coach Troy Rogers said. “Anytime you walk a batter, that person tends to score, especially leadoff walks or one-out walks. We had limited that as a staff pretty well lately, but not today, and that gave them their big inning.”
However, early on in the game, it looked as if the game had already been sealed.
Nick Frerichs started his monster day at the plate with the first of his three doubles in the first, and was brought home the next at-bat by Dakota Clayton for the first of his team high 5 RBI—but that run was answered in the next half inning when a batter who singled was eventually walked in for the Trojans—then in the home half of the second the ‘Skins went nuts.
Dylan Hart singled and was brought home on a two-run jack from sophomore Zac Hrvol that cleared the left field fence by a good 10 feet. Two batters later, Griffin Sullivan walked, stole second, and when Sullivan was on third, Shane Atchison got to second after getting beaned. Nick Frerichs was then walked and Clayton cleared the bags with a single to right.
Levi Nadler brought Clayton home on a single, taking the first pitch he saw to right for a single to end the six-run Sullivan half inning.
“We jumped on them early,” Rogers said. “We are a good hitting ball club, but the thing we didn’t do was keep tacking on runs and winning innings, and that did us in.”
Charleston added two in the third—Griffin Sullivan dropped a fly in right, and the next two Trojans doubled and singled—a walk was batted in by a double in the fourth, and after holding Charleston scoreless in the fifth, it all went away in the blink of an eye in the top of the sixth.
Clayton came in and registered the final out in the fifth—Frerichs just wasn’t the same on the mound after his head-first slide scoring in the second—but that was the only out he would register.
The big junior walked the first two batters, and after a fielder’s choice that got nobody out, the bases were loaded.
Ironically enough, the inning before, Sullivan had the bases loaded with one out and no runs scored.
Charleston didn’t let history repeat itself.
A two RBI single ended Clayton’s night on the mound, and Charleston took an 8-7 lead.
It would only grow.
Jacob Piper came to the bump, and the first batter he faced hit a shot to Hart at second that was bobbled. That was followed by a two RBI double, back-to-back RBI singles, an RBI double, and a two RBI single.
When the dust finally settled, 10 Trojans scored, 12 had batted, and the lead Sullivan enjoyed had become a seven run deficit.
“They hit the ball hard,” Rogers said. “But at the same time we didn’t make plays we needed to defensively and gave them walks. We let them get back into it. If we make some plays earlier in that inning, we come out of it with a win.”
The Redskins answered with four in the home half of the sixth but the comeback was in vain, and the Redskins fell 15-11 after Charleston added a run in the seventh.
“We fought back, the kids played with some fire after that inning,” Rogers added. “Alec did a good job of setting the tone with the double which should have been a single, but he busted it out of the box.”
Sullivan went on to drop their next two contests, falling 8-1 to Maroa Forsyth Friday and then 6-2 to Shelbyville Monday, dropping to 3-12 on the year.
Pitching: Frerichs: 4 2/3 IP, 1 K, 3 BB, 3 ER; D. Clayton: (LP) 1/3 IP, 3 BB, 4 ER; J. Piper: 1 IP, 6 ER; L. Nadler: 1 IP, K, BB
Hitting: A. Ballenger: 1-5, 2B, RS; S. Atchison: 1-4, 1B, HBP; N. Frerichs: 3-5, 3 2B, BB, 1 RBI; D. Clayton: 3-5, 3 1B, 5 RBI; L. Nadler: 2-4, 1B, 2B, 1 RBI; D. Hart: 2-4, 2 1B, RS; Z. Hrvol: 2-4, 2-Run HR, 1B, 2 BB, 2 RBI, RS; B. Elder: 0-4, RBI; G. Sullivan: 0-4, BB, RS; T. Hanson: 0-1 BB