Defensive struggles lead to Indians’ eliminating loss
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
May 08, 2013 12:50 AM | 2210 views | 2 2 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of the McEachern baseball team head back to the dugout after Tuesday’s season-ending loss to Tift County in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs. Four days after the series began, and after two postponements because of rain, the Indians lost the decisive third game.
<Br>Staff photo by Todd Hull
Members of the McEachern baseball team head back to the dugout after Tuesday’s season-ending loss to Tift County in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs. Four days after the series began, and after two postponements because of rain, the Indians lost the decisive third game.
Staff photo by Todd Hull
slideshow
POWDER SPRINGS — Defensive mistakes likely cost McEachern on Tuesday, as it dropped a 2-1 decision to Tift County in the finale of their first-round Class AAAAAA state playoff series.

McEachern (23-6) held a 1-0 lead at the end of the third inning before things unraveled in the fourth. Tift County (16-13) scored two runs off three errors and a walk to take a 2-1 lead, and Zack Bullard, the Blue

Devils’ starting pitcher, kept the Indians off the board the rest of the way to steal the series from the Region 4AAAAAA champion.

McEachern committed two more errors — one each in the fifth and sixth innings — for a total of five, but while the last two weren’t as costly, they weren’t any less disappointing given how the game was lost.

“We talked about it all year long,” McEachern coach Dan Torrenti said. “It comes down to baseball. It wasn’t an act of God. There were some unfortunate miscues where we didn’t make plays on groundballs. You can’t beat good teams in games like this with that situation. We didn’t make plays (Tuesday).

“I was proud of our pitchers. I was proud of our kids. Obviously, this isn’t where we wanted to end up.”

The game was a pitchers’ duel between Bullard — the Game 1 winner Friday — and McEachern’s Bruce Kirkpatrick, who gave up two unearned runs off two hits and two walks in innings. He also had five strikeouts.

Dalton Geekie relieved Kirkpatrick in the sixth. He struck out the side in both of the innings he pitched and didn’t allow a run over the final two innings.

Much like Friday’s Game 1, which McEachern lost 4-1, Bullard was tough to beat.

The Indians manufactured a run in the third inning, when Phil Tucker led off with a walk, moved to second on Johnathan Wells’ sacrifice bunt, to third on a passed ball and scored on Aaron Morris’ grounder.

The margin didn’t hold up.

Bullard drew a one-out walk in the top of the fourth and moved to third when Blake Suggs reached first on an error. Bullard then scored on a throwing error that allowed Will Reinhardt to reach. After Alex Abbott’s single pushed pinch-runner Ryan Ross — who was in for Reinhardt — to third, Ross scored as Briggs Benson reached first on another throwing error, giving the Blue Devils the 2-1 advantage.

The outcome could have been different if the game had been played as planned.

After dropping the series opener, McEachern pulled even in the series with an 11-2 victory in Friday’s nightcap. Rain washed out the teams’ chances of playing Saturday and Monday, which allowed Tift County to start Bullard again for the deciding game of the series.

Bullard ended Tuesday’s game giving up one earned run on four hits, while striking out one with four walks in a complete game.

“With our pitching depth, we definitely felt like, going into Saturday’s game, that we were sitting in a really good spot,” Torrenti said. “We felt really comfortable. But the rain came. We talked about it all weekend. We knew we were going to see Bullard again, and they would have been crazy not to throw him because the guy’s a bulldog.

“It’s the situation we were dealt. We tried our best to overcome it, and we weren’t able to.”

With the season at an end, Torrenti reflected on a strong debut season at McEachern.

“We had some special moments,” he said. “We were relentless all year long, and we were relentless (Tuesday). As much as it hurts right now, I think 23-win seasons aren’t easy to come by. That’s definitely an accomplishment. Winning a region like Region (4AAAAAA) is definitely something to be proud of, but this isn’t how we wanted to finish up.”
Comments
(2)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
DDRRCCCC
|
May 08, 2013
Coach T has them Indians on track. This is only the begining. State Champs next year. Mark my words. Coach Joiner would be proud to see the way his protege coached this year.
INDIAN 4 LIFE
|
May 08, 2013
Coach Torenti, You are THE MAN! We are so happy to have you and you have been a wonderful addition to our baseball program. Thanks for the memories!!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides