University Heights Academy had multiple chances to put runs on the board on Monday night, but just couldn’t get them home.
The Blazers stranded multiple runners on base and some untimely defensive miscues allowed Caldwell County to escape with a 7-2 win in eight innings.
UHA struck early, as an RBI sac fly from Eston Glover and Luke Welch hitting into a fielder’s choice allowed the Blazers to take an early 2-0 lead.
Caldwell responded with a pair of runs in the third to tie things up and for the next three and a half innings, the score stayed that way.
In the top of the eighth, Caldwell got its opportunity. With a runner on, UHA pitcher Luke Welch fielded a ball hit back to him but an off throw to second cause the ball to roll into the outfield. After the bases were loaded, Colin Whittington smacked a two-run single to break the tie. Logan Smiley capped the Tigers’ inning off with a three-run home run to take a five-run lead. Caldwell held UHA scoreless in the bottom of the eighth to close the game.
Blazers’ head coach Chris Hamby said Welch gave his team more than enough on the mound to win the game, but the miscue on the double play will sting.
“I didn’t think he had his best stuff by any means,” Hamby said. “I thought he struggled a little bit. A lot more pitches outside of the strike zone than he normally throws but he still gave us a chance to win it. Double play ball is what it is. Should’ve been a routine double play. Still, give yourself a chance until the three-run home run.”
The Blazers had their chances, earning multiple at-bats with runners in scoring position. The closes opportunity came when Eston Glover was thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the third.
“We don’t seem to be able to string things together,” Hamby said. “We’ll get a couple walks then we won’t hit the ball. Or we’ll get a couple of hits and then we do something silly on the bases.
“As far as the play at the plate, I sent Eston, Eston ran hard and the kid at third made a great play. I’d do it all over again just because I know where we are making two-out hits and if he doesn’t make a good throw, Eston is in there. That one wins the game if we get him in.”
Despite falling short on Monday, the Blazers took the 2019 Second Region runner-up to extras and had chances to walk away with a win.
Now on a nine-game skid, Hamby is hopeful this loss shows his team it is capable of winning any game.
“I hope it gets them to where they hope they can,” Hamby said. “Our last win was against Lyon County and Lyon County is killing everybody right now. I know we can.”