One disastrous inning spoiled what had been a strong effort by Highland’s baseball team at home against Fredericktown on Friday.
The Scots led 4-1 entering the sixth inning, but a series of miscues proved costly as the Freddies racked up six runs in the frame and held on for a 7-5 win.
Fredericktown opened the inning by getting an infield single and a double off starting pitcher Conner Ulrey, which caused manager Don Kline to go to the bullpen and bring in Mack Anglin.
On his first batter, Anglin gave up an RBI groundout to make the score 4-2 with a runner on third and one out. However, back-to-back Scot errors on the next two batters brought the Freddies within one run with runners on first and second. A single loaded the bases. The next Freddy batter hit another RBI groundout, but the ball was misplayed, keeping the bases loaded with the score tied at four.
Anglin struck out the next batter to get one out away from getting out of the inning, but then balked in a run and gave up a two-run single to put Fredericktown up by three.
“Really, it was two games,” said Kline. “For the first three innings, I thought we had it in control and did a lot of what we wanted to do, but once we got to the fourth, the momentum went to Fredericktown. I have to tip my cap to Fredericktown. They’re a well-coached team who hit the ball hard and we just didn’t make enough plays.”
The coach noted that his team simply lost control of the game late — a tough lesson to be learned in a league contest.
“We started the inning and were in control and then we were not in control,” he said. “We have to make play. If we want to be a championship caliber team, we have to make outs.”
The Scots attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, but came one hit short. Wyatt Gresh was hit by a pitch and then, with two outs, a Lane Ballard single put runners on the corners. Chase Beam drove in one run, leaving two on with two outs, but the Freddies were able to get out of the inning and end the game before any further damage was done.
Until the sixth inning, the game was going fairly smoothly for the Scots. Ulrey only surrendered three hits over his first five innings of work and the offense wasted no time in staking him to a lead.
Andrew Stillwell opened the bottom of the first inning by striking out, but reached first base on a passed ball. Jacob Fox moved him to second and Ulrey then put runners on first and second. Max Schreiber drew a walk to load the bases for Wyatt Gresh.
First, a wild pitch scored one runner and advanced the others; then Gresh drove in two more runs with a hit to make the score 3-0.
Then, in the second inning, with the bases loaded and one out, Ulrey tallied an RBI on a groundout to make it 4-0 in favor of the Scots. Over the first three innings, the only negative for the Scots was that they left six runners on base — which came back to bite them later on in the contest.
The Freddies got one run in the fourth and then were able to finish their comeback two innings later to drop Highland to 6-1 in league play. Fredericktown is currently 4-1 in the league, while Northmor is 3-1 and Centerburg is 4-2, leading Kline to believe his team will be in the middle of an exciting Blue Division race — something which pleases him considering that he has a lot of first-year starters due to graduating a lot of players from last year’s team.
“We have brand new infield and a new pitching staff,” he said. “From a class standpoint, we’re old, but we have a lot of inexperienced players. We just have to be sharp. If we play like today, we won’t win too many league games.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS