Manchester tops West Union 5-2 in SHAC contest –
Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –
The first of numerous baseball battles between Adams County teams took place on Monday, April 3 in Manchester as the Greyhounds played host to the West Union Dragons. Both teams were looking to get back on the winning track, having lost their previous games, and on Monday it was the Hounds rallying with a big five-run third inning to post their first Southern Hills Athletic Conference win of the season, downing the Dragons 5-2.
Manchester got a complete game, eight-strikeout performance from senior right hander Kaulen Cox, and a pair of runs batted in from his battery mate Colton Thornburg as they knocked off their county rival.
With Cox on the hill for the home team, the Dragons countered with sophomore Brandan Cornell, fresh off a five-inning no-hit job against Whiteoak. Both pitchers threw the ball well, with the one bad inning dooming Cornell and the Dragons.
West Union did take an early lead, scoring one in the top of the first inning. With one out, Janson Kramer reached on an error and came home an out later on a base hit by Dylan Grooms. Jared Fenton followed with an infield hit, but Cox worked out of trouble, getting Brandon Blevins to bounce back to the mound.
The Dragons got a leadoff single in the top of the second from Andrew Weeks, but he was erased from the basepaths when the Hounds turned a 5-4-3 double play. West Union added a run to their lead in the top half of the third when Kramer doubled to center and later scored on an infield single by Grooms.
With West Union leading 2-0, the home team came to the plate in what turned out to be the decisive bottom of the third.
Jalen James led off the frame with a base hit to left, and was replaced by pinch runner Shaun Gould. After Jacob Calvert flied to right, Bryan Young smacked a double to left, moving Gould over to third. Hunter Conley walked to fill the bases, and then Colton Thornburg tied the game with a two-bagger to right that brought home Gould and Young.
A base hit to center by Cox sent Conley home and gave the Hounds a 3-2 lead, but they weren’t done. A single to left by Kaleb Henschen sent Thornburg scampering home and the fifth and final run of the inning came when Cox crossed the plate on a West Union error.
Now with a three-run cushion to work with, Cox went back to the mound and proceeded to throw four shutout innings the rest of the way. West Union had a base runner in the top of the fourth, but could not move him around and got another base hit from Kramer in the fifth, but again did not cross the plate.
In the top of the sixth, the Dragons got their first two hitters aboard when Grooms walked and Fenton singled to right. Cox then got Blevins swinging, coaxed Weeks into a ground out, and with two runners in scoring position, struck out Casey Mullenix to end the threat.
Kramer pitched the bottom of the sixth in relief of Cornell and held the Hounds scoreless, setting up the final at-bat for his team in the top of the seventh. To finish off his complete game “W”, Cox got Cody Thornberry on a ground out to third, struck out Michael Carson swinging, and after a walk to the hot-hitting Kramer, Cornell went down swinging for the final out in a 5-2 Manchester triumph.
In the loss, the Dragons got two hits each from Kramer, Grooms, and Fenton, accounting for six of their seven total. Other than the one tough inning, Cornell was again sharp on the mound, striking out 10 in five innings of work.
Cox scattered the seven hits in his complete game win, his first of the season against one defeat, with an earned run average in 15 innings pitched now standing at 0.93.
The Greyhounds were back in action on Tuesday, April 4 when they topped Ripley in another SHAC contest and improved to 3-2 on the season, 2-1 in the conference. West Union was scheduled to play at Fairfield on Tuesday but that contest was cancelled and rescheduled for April 26.
Both teams were also slated to play, weather permitting, on Thursday, April 6, the Hounds hosting North Adams and the Dragons hosting Ripley.
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W. Union Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Carson 4-0-0-0, Kramer 3-2-2-0, Cornell 4-0-0-0, D. Grooms 2-0-2-2, Fenton 3-0-2-0, Blevins 3-0-0-0, Weeks 3-0-1-0, Madden 0-0-0-0, Mullenix 3-0-0-0, Thornberry 3-0-0-0, Team 28-2-7-2.
Extra-Base Hits: Kramer 2B
Manchester Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Young 4-1-1-0, Conley 2-1-0-0, Thornburg 2-1-1-2, Cox 3-1-1-1, Henschen 3-0-1-1, Lucas 3-0-1-0, Thatcher 3-0-0-0, James 3-0-2-0, Gould 0-1-0-0, Calvert 1-0-0-0, Reed 1-0-0-0, Team 25-5-7-4.
Extra-Base Hits: Thornburg 2B, Young 2B
W. Union Pitching: Cornell (L) 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 103 pitches
Kramer 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 16 pitches
Manchester Pitching: Cox (W) 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 99 pitches