By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin Eagles have no time to dwell on a loss.
Instead, Joplin’s baseball team will try to quickly put in the past its 5-3 loss to the Rolla Bulldogs on Wednesday night at Joe Becker Stadium. The Eagles will be on the road today against Ozark Conference-foe Lebanon.
“We got to have a short memory,” Joplin coach Kirk Harryman said. “We still have an opportunity to get a conference title or at least share it. It starts (today). We can’t have any more of these slips.”
Wednesday’s loss dropped the Eagles to 11-7 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
“First and foremost, I thought Rolla came out and swung the bats well,” Harryman said. “They played well and made most of the routine plays and took advantage of our mistakes.”
Joplin had defeated Rolla (8-9) 11-1 earlier this month.
“I would imagine for our boys it’s been a motivating factor,” Rolla coach Karl Odenwald said. “They put a hurting on us a couple weeks back. We had the opportunity to show them that wasn’t the kind of club we really are. We wanted to come here and show Joplin that we’re a much better team than what they saw a couple weeks back.”
Three singles in the first inning helped the Bulldogs jump out to a 2-0 lead. Rolla tacked on two more runs in the top of the third, taking advantage of three hits and a throwing error to go up 4-1.
Joplin cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third but missed an opportunity to score more. Nate Brummer opened the inning by reaching on an infield error. He followed by stealing second, but was caught trying to steal third.
The Eagles’ Brett Graham then cracked a double to right-center that would have scored a run. Tristan Ash eventually hit a single to score Graham.
“We’re being aggressive on a ball in the dirt and it just doesn’t get away enough and the catcher’s got a good arm,” Harryman said.
Rolla’s starting pitcher Seth Stevens wasn’t flashy, but he scattered eight hits and kept the Eagles from having a big inning.
“He really does a nice job,” Odenwald said. “There isn’t anything by just looking at him that wows you, but he hits his spots. He throws his curve for a strike. He keeps teams off balance. He’s been solid for us all year.”
Joplin’s pitchers Adam St. Peter, Blake Brown and Caleb Garton combined to allow only eight hits, but walked six and hit four batters.
The Eagles’ defense was bend but don’t break as Rolla stranded 12 runners over the final four innings. The Bulldogs stranded 15 for the game.
Still, Harryman said the mistakes added up for the Eagles.
“You can’t do things like that in a game when you’re scuffling on offense and expect to have a lot of success,” Harryman said. “But at the end of the day, you tip your hat to Rolla. They played better than we did. We’ll get on the bus and go to Lebanon (today) and see what happens.”