Wildcats fall at MarburyPublished 11:00am Tuesday, April 15, 2014
There’s an old adage that says, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
In the case of the Benjamin Russell Wildcats, the opposite held true, as sluggish starts against Marbury during this past Friday’s double-header led to back-to-back losses to the Bulldogs.
“It was the first time we’ve lost two games in a row all season,” BRHS baseball coach Richy Brooks said. “We didn’t play well, and they came out and took it to us.”
BRHS lost game one 6-3, and lost game two 8-7 despite coming back from a 4-0 deficit. The losses guarantee a second-place finish for the Wildcats in the area. Recaps of the games are as follows.
BRHS 3, Marbury 6 (game one):
The Wildcats were virtually doomed from the start, as a base-loaded double by Marbury’s James Henry kicked off the scoring for the Bulldogs.
After putting up three runs in the first, Marbury added one run in each of the second, third and fourth innings.
BRHS didn’t score until the fifth inning, when they put up two runs.
The Wildcats added another run in the sixth, but the deficit was too much.
“We had a bad start in both games,” Brooks said. “That three-run double hit the chalk, and it was off from there. (Marbury’s) kid did a good job of keeping us locked down. We didn’t get the big hit, they got the big hit.”
Caleb Brooks took the loss in the contest, going 1.1 innings and giving up four hits and four earned runs. He struck out two.
In relief, Bryant Horn struck out five batters over 2.2 innings, allowing three hits and two runs (one earned). Henry pitched the whole game, striking out eight hitters while allowing six hits and three runs (zero unearned).
Austin Moncus accounted for the lone RBI for BRHS. Sean Rape was 2-for-3 at the plate.
BRHS 7, Marbury 8 (game two):
Similar to game one, the Bulldogs roared out of the gate to claim a big lead. Marbury tacked on four runs in the opening inning. However, the Wildcats were able to fight back, putting up a five-spot in the third inning to claim a lead.
“We had a chance to get back in it, but ultimately we did not,” Brooks said.
Marbury then responded with a three-run fourth inning.
BRHS tied things up with two runs in the fifth inning, but the runs that the Wildcats didn’t score proved to be the death knell for their area title aspirations.
“We had guys on first and third with one out late in the game,” Brooks said. “But we didn’t get any of them in. That haunted us.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Daniel Whatley ended up walking two batters. Marbury then delivered with a walk-off hit that wrapped up the Bulldogs’ second-straight area title.
“We started that inning by giving up a walk on four straight pitches, and that’s never good,” Brooks said. “We walked another guy and brought the infield in, but they got a hit that went right over the right fielder’s head.”
Whatley took the loss. Sean Rape started the game, giving up seven runs and walking five in 3.1 innings.
Seth Hendon was 1-for-4 with a run scored and three RBIs. Rape was 2-for-4 and scored a run.
Now, the Wildcats (23-10) turn their attention to Demopolis, as BRHS will face them in round one of playoff action.
At this point, Brooks said, the Wildcats have to fine-tune the fundamentals.
“We’ve got some areas to clean up that will give us a better opportunity to win, and they are things we need practice on. But they are little bitty things, like holding baserunners on the paths and improving our own baserunning. We have to clean up stuff like that before the playoffs.”
BRHS and Demopolis play at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Demopolis. If necessary, game three of the series will be Saturday at noon.