The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 22, 2012

Eagles fall to Waynesville at Hammons Field

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Waynesville rapped 11 hits and pulled away late to beat Joplin 10-6 Sunday night in an Ozark Conference baseball game at Hammons Field.

The Tigers (9-4, 3-2 Ozark) tallied six runs in the last three innings, and Joplin (7-10, 2-3) certainly aided the Tigers’ attack. The Eagles had more errors (5), walks (6) and wild pitches (4) than hits (3).

“It’s not a good day,” Eagles coach Kirk Harryman said. “You tip your hat to Waynesville. They pitched it better than we did, they hit it better than we did and they fielded it better than we did. And when that happens, we’re very fortunate the score was just 10-6.”

The Eagles’ hits contributed to five of their runs.

Nathan Brummer doubled down the left field line in the second inning, stopped at third on Keith Simpson’s single to left and scored on an error on Tyler Russell’s ground ball.Colin Hughes walked to load the bases, and the Eagles added two more runs on a walk to Chris Leonardi and a grounder by Bryce Ash.

Tyler Russell walked leading off the Eagles’ fourth, stole second, took third on a dropped third strike and scored on a late throw home on Leonardi’s bunt.

Joplin also loaded the bases in the seventh when Dayton Whitehead walked, Brett Graham singled and Adam St. Peter was hit by a pitch. Whitehead came home on a balk.

Joplin’s problems began in the first inning when a potential inning-ending double play was mishandled, and the Tigers went on to score three runs.

“We have to execute better,” Harryman said. “We had a chance to get out of the first inning with a double-play ball without them scoring. We had a chance in the bottom half to get a bunt down (to move a runner to third) and score a run because we hit a flyball to left. That cost us a run. We didn’t get a bunt down on the safety squeeze, and that cost us a run.

“We had opportunities, we just didn’t take them, and we have to get better. The last three games we’ve scuffled on offense, and we have to fix it. The things that keep us in games are pitching and defense, and today we weren’t that fortunate.”

Catcher James Holler collected three hits and two RBI for the Tigers. Lance Bateman’s two-run single — after three consecutive walks — broke a 4-4 tie in the fifth, and three errors led to four runs in the last two frames.

The Eagle defense also saved runs  as third baseman Graham’s nifty backhand stop on a short hop and good throw to first ended the fourth, and shortstop Bryce Ash’s over-the-shoulder catch in shallow center prevented a hit in the fifth.

Joplin starter Adam St. Peter gave up six hits in 4 1/3 innings, struck out five batters and walked four. Waynesville’s Ethan Howser worked 6 1/3 innings, fanned seven batters, walked five and hit two.

One highlight was getting to play at gorgeous Hammons Field, home of the Class AA Springfield Cardinals.

“I think it’s good for the kids,” Harryman said. “Obviously you wish you played better and get a win when you have this experience, leave with a good feeling.”

The Eagles resume a busy week Tuesday afternoon at Rolla. They have home games Thursday against Lebanon and Friday against Neosho before a varsity-only game at 11 a.m. Saturday at Carthage.

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