Head Coach Kyle Brewer and his Manchester Greyhounds had to be happy with the first four innings of last week’s home opener with the Eastern Warriors. In the 2014 Southern Hills Athletic Conference debut for both squads, the game was tied at 2 apiece after four innings of play. Unfortunately for the home team, the game had to go to the fifth.
The Warriors exploded in the fifth for seven runs and then topped that with eight in the sixth to break open a close game and run-rule the Greyhounds by a final score of 17-4. It was the Manchester defense that was the culprit on the day, committing five errors that led to 10 unearned runs for the victorious Warriors.
The day began as a pitcher’s duel between Manchester’s Sean Frost and Eastern’s Derek Lunsford. Both pitchers set down the side in order in the first inning and in the top of the second, Frost gave up a leadoff double to Eastern’s Clay Broughton, but buckled down to retire the next three batters, leaving Broughton stranded at third.
The Greyhound offense struck first in the bottom of the second, using the extra base hit as a weapon against Lunsford.After Nick Hoskins struck out to begin the frame, third baseman Cole Hensley jumped on a 2-2 pitch and drove it to the wall in center field, ending up sliding into third safely with a triple. Tyler Brummett followed with a two-base hit to deep center that gave the Hounds a 1-0 lead. Brummett advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home when Nate Shelton blooped one over the drawn in infield, giving the home team the 2-0 advantage.
That advantage was short-lived as the Warriors tied the game in their half of the third. Kyle Meeker led off with a walk and moved to second when Frost was called for a balk. After a strikeout, Nathan Scott drew a walk and Curtis Burns followed with a line drive hit to center, scoring Meeker with the first Eastern run. Scott eventually came around to score on a passed ball and the game was all even at 2 apiece.
After those two scoring frames, the next three went scoreless, though the Warriors threatened in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with two out but Frost got a fly ball to center fielder Rickey DeAtley to wiggle out of the jam.
There was no wiggling to be had when the Warriors came to the plate in the top half of the fifth. Singles by Burns, Branden Hornsby, and Broughton filled the bases and Coach Brewer went to his bullpen, bringing on Tyler Brummett. Brummett faced immediate control problem as walks to Grant MacIntosh and Colt Adams forced home two runs and the flood gates quickly opened. An error, a base hit, another error, and another walk made it 9-2 and again the Hounds went to the pen, calling on the lefty DeAtley who retired the first three batters he faced to prevent any further damage.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Greyhounds got Colton Thornburg on via an error and a base hit by Mason Applegate, but could not score, setting the stage for yet another big inning for the Warrior offense.
Eastern took advantage of a porous Manchester defense again, scoring eight times with only three base hits. By the time the smoke had cleared, the visitors had used seven unearned runs and taken a commanding 17-2 lead, needing just to retire the Hounds in the bottom of the sixth for the run-rule to be enforced.
With Lunsford still on the mound, the Warriors did just that, but not before the Hounds could scratch out two more runs. Hoskins got a one-out single to left, followed by a double to left by Hensley. Thornburg reached on an error that allowed both runners to cross the plate, but Lunsford coaxed a ground ball off the bat of Applegate that turned into a game-ending fielder’s choice and the Warriors left town with SHAC win number one under their belt, final score 17-4.
The Greyhounds managed seven hits in the loss, two of them by Cole Hensley. Frost went four innings on the mound, allowing four earned runs and taking the loss. Manchester pitchers walked 11 batters in the game.
Eastern got 17 runs in the game with just nine base hits, two each by Burns and Meeker leading the charge. Lunsford pitched a complete game, allowing seven hits and two earned runs in getting the ‘“W.”
After this Tuesday contest, the rest of the week was washed out for the Greyhounds, including a Monday make up game in West Union. Weather allowing, Manchester was scheduled to play at North Adams yesterday, play the make up game with West Union today, then host Ripley tomorrow as the spring rains play havoc with the schedule.
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.
EASTERN 002 078 —17
MANCHESTER 020 002 —4
Eastern Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Scott 3-2-0-0, Burns 5-2-2-1, Hornsby 5-2-1-0, Broughton 4-1-1-0, Frost 1-1-1-2,
MacIntosh 3-2-1-1, Adams 4-1-1-1, Lunsford 4-2-0-0, Meeker 2-2-1-1, Klein 0-1-0-1, Holton 2-1-0-0, Griffin 1-0-0-0,
Extra-Base Hits: Broughton 2B
Manchester Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Francis 3-0-0-0, Conley 3-0-1-0, Frost 3-0-0-0, Hoskins 3-1-1-0, Hensley 3-2-2-0,
Brummett 2-1-1-1, Shelton 3-0-1-1, Thornburg 3-0-0-0, Applegate 3-0-1-0, Team 26-4-7-2.
Extra-Base Hits: Brummett 2B, Hensley 2B, 3B
Eastern Pitching: Lunsford (W) 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 89 pitches
Manchester Pitching: Frost (L) 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 84 pitches
Brummett 0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 26 pitches
DeAtley 2 IP, 3 H, 8 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 57 pitches