PRINCETON — Giving a team free chances can spell doom for a ball club on the diamond as was evident Tuesday night during the St. Bede Bruins come from behind 7-4 victory over the Princeton Tigers Tuesday at Prather Field.
Five costly errors during the game by Princeton allowed six unearned runs to cross the plate for St. Bede erasing a fine pitching performance by the Tigers’ Jake Reinhardt.
“The errors hurt us,” Princeton coach Tim Taylor said. “That gave them some runs that we shouldn’t have allowed, with two outs even, which hurt even more. We hit a ton of fly balls that took us in and out of innings too quick where if we hit line drives we start to manufacture some stuff. That’s really the story we gave up one earned run so that’s a big difference.”
Leading 2-1 going into the fifth inning, the Tigers allowed the only earned run of the game off a bloop single down the right field line by catcher Nathan Bartley to score pitcher Matt Szczepaniak.
St. Bede took advantage of a dropped fly ball by Tiger second baseman Levi Bates as they scored three more runs in the inning, including two on a line drive that was rocketed between shortstop J.J. Vacarro and third baseman Caleb Dickens by Braidy Shipp to make the score 5-2.
“We just got a few breaks and we didn’t give them a whole lot of runs, and you got to give it to Matt (Szczepaniak) he stayed in there and pitched a great five innings for us,” St. Bede coach John Bellino said.
After retiring the first two batters, Szczepaniak in the bottom of the fifth inning, Princeton pulled within one run as the bottom half of the lineup came through as catcher Logan Wilde blasted a double over the center fielder’s head.
Following a single by right fielder Tyler Marvin and a base-on-balls by Bates, leadoff hitter Isaiah Taylor stepped to the plate with bases loaded and found the outfield grass between left center and second base that allowed Marvin and Bates to cross the plate, making the score 5-4.
“I think it took the wind out of their sails when we turned around and got two out of it but at the same token it wasn’t enough to take the wind out of their sail and put it in ours,” Taylor said.
St. Bede added two insurance runs in the sixth inning. The two-run inning was started by an Ethan Duttlinger single to center with no outs, Bartley next stepped to the plate advancing Duttlinger on a sacrifice bunt.
Duttlinger scored on the next at-bat as Shipp sent a ground ball to the third baseman Dickens. Dickens shorthopped his throw to first baseman Sky Behrends who couldn’t come up with the ball that skipped by him in the dirt.
Shipp came around to score the final run of the game as Plankenhorn sent a single into center field but was thrown out by Bartley as he tried to advance to second.
Reinhardt pitched well but his defense couldn’t come up with a few key plays that were costly in the end. He finished with four strikeouts, a walk and one earned run against.
“He had a very good day out there. He got a little tired after the fourth and he decided to stay with it, and he just kept throwing strikes and pounding that strike zone and he had another nice outing,” Taylor said.
Szczepaniak finished with three strikeouts, four walks and four earned runs against.
“That’s high school baseball, usually that’s what we’ve been doing (giving unearned runs), so I’m happy to see that we finally played a little bit better,” Bellino said.
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