Monday was a day of great pitching match ups in the county and as North Adams’ Hank Sparks and West Union’s Kyle Taylor dueled in the county seat, there was another pretty good pairing to the south at Manchester High School, where the Greyhounds played host to the Peebles Indians. For Manchester, it was their ace, sophomore Sean Frost, battling it out with the undisputable ace for the Indians in senior right hander Brady Johnson.
Just as it was in West Union, the two pitchers in Manchester turned in dominating performances, combining to hurl six scoreless innings, but it was one rough inning that proved to be the downfall for Johnson and the Indians. The Greyhounds put together four hits and took advantage of a Peebles error in the bottom of the fifth to score three times, the only runs for either side in a 3-0 Manchester victory, the third in a row for the Hounds.
Frost was exceptional on the mound for the home team, firing seven shutout innings, allowing just two singles, and striking out five. Other than the one bad inning, Johnson matched his counterpart pitch for pitch, allowing just six hits in six innings, and fanning eight.
The first scoring opportunity of the game came for Peebles in the top of the second. With one away, John Penn reached safely on an error by Manchester shortstop Leevi Francis. Lane Hanson drew a base on balls and an infield single by Joe McElwee loaded the bases. Frost was up to the task, however, as he bore down and struck out both Clay Brown and Jack Behr to end the threat and leave a trio of Indians stranded.
In the top of the third, the Indians got Alex Seaman on board via an error but Frost got out of the inning with the aid of the pitcher’s best friend as he induced Johnson to hit into the 6-4-3 double play. In the meantime, Johnson was mowing through the Manchester lineup, retiring the first 12 hitters he faced until the deciding fifth inning,where he got a couple of fastballs up in the zone and the Hounds took advantage.
Tyler Brummett led off the bottom of the fifth with a blast that looked like it might leave the park, but it bounced against the left field wall and Brummett coasted into second with a double, the first Manchester base runner of the night. Cole Hensley followed with a single to center that sent Brummett to third and with some heads-up base running, Hensley went to second on the throw to the plate. Bryan Young then laced a line drive to right that scored Brummett and when the ball skipped past the right fielder, Hensley also came home to make it 2 zip Hounds, with Young getting to second.
Rickey DeAtley laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt that moved Young to third and a Nick Hoskins single to left brought Young home with the third run of the inning, with still just one out. That was enough for Johnson, though, as he struck out Francis and got Frost on a ground ball to second to end the inning.
That left the Indians with two more at-bats to try and solve Frost and make up the three-run deficit, but it wasn’t happening in the top of the sixth as Peebles got leadoff man Ryan Brown on when he was hit by a pitch but one out later, Frost’s defense came up big again, turning a Tyler Fenner ground ball into another 6-4-3 twin killing.
The Hounds got a Mason Applegate single in the bottom of the sixth but didn’t score, bringing the Indians to the dish for their last shot. That last shot went quickly as Frost closed out his shutout performance by retiring the side in order, getting McElwee swinging for the final out in a 3-0 Manchester victory.
“It felt good, really good,” said the winning pitcher after the game. “I located my fastball down and away real good today and my curve ball was breaking pretty good.”
Manchester head coach Kyle Brewer was happy to see his team put together the winning effort.
“This was the first game that we have put everything together for an entire game,” said Brewer. “Sean was absolutely superb. He hit his locations and made an emphasis on first-pitch strikes so he could attack batters with his pitches. Coach Penny called great pitches and kept Peebles from getting any rhythm. Only being a sophomore, Frost has an extremely bright future ahead of him on the diamond.”
“Our defense was very good today too,” continued Brewer. “We played aggressive on defense and attacked Peebles at the plate. Hats off to Brady Johnson as well. He pitched a great game. It was a great game to watch as well as coach and I am proud of our young team.”
Peebles head coach Judd Johnson realized the downfall of his team, a lack of offensive punch from a squad that has been getting quality pitching in recent games.
“We played well on defense and got another well pitched game,” said Coach Johnson. “We simply did not hit the ball but Frost pitched a great game for them. He kept us off balance the entire game.”
“Brady threw the ball well for us but Manchester was able to bunch some hits together in that fifth inning and that was the difference. We have to find a way to score some runs. It puts too much pressure on our pitchers when we are not able to score.”
The win improved the Greyhounds to 5-10 on the year while Peebles dropped to 3-8.
Both teams finished up regular season games this week and will head into postseason action this weekend, though the weather forecast did not look promising at press time. both squads are scheduled to open up Division IV sectional play on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. with the Indians traveling to Glenwood New Boston while the Greyhounds were on the road at Eastern Pike. Look for reports on those game in future issues of The People’s Defender.
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter@adamscosports.
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Peebles Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Seaman 3-0-0-0, R. Brown 2-0-0-0, Johnson 3-0-0-0, Fenner 3-0-0-0, Penn 3-0-0-0, Hanson 2-0-0-0, McElwee 3-0-2-0, C. Brown 1-0-0-0, Lightner 0-0-0-0, Behr 2-0-0-0, Team 22-0-2-0.
Manchester Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Frost 3-0-0-0, Conley 3-0-0-0, Applegate 3-0-1-0, Brummett 3-1-1-0, Hensley 3-1-2-0, Young 2-1-1-1, DeAtley 1-0-0-0, Hoskins 2-0-1-1, Francis 2-0-0-0, Team 22-3-6-2.
Extra-Base Hits: Brummett 2B
Peebles Pitching: Johnson (L) 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 81 pitches.
Manchester Pitching: Frost (W) 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 86 pitches.