Boys Varsity Baseball · Bruins Bow Out of Sectional, 8-3

The Bruins baseball team fell to Yorktown (21-8) in their sectional opener last night at Yorktown to end their season 10-18.

Starting pitcher Josh Jennings ran into control problems after getting the first batter out. He walked the second, allowed a double before getting the fourth batter on a roller back to the mound. Unfortunately, he walked the next two men to give the host Tigers a 1-0 lead. Reliever Peyton Hurd then walked the next batter to make it 2-0. “It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t find the strike zone early. You can’t give a team of that caliber too many freebies. Josh has been throwing a lot of strikes for us, but today just wasn’t his day,” Head Coach Tony Uggen shared. Hurd would allow three runs on four hits in the second that allowed the Tigers to take a 5-0 lead and the game looked to be getting out of hand in a hurry.

Jake Ross came in to pitch the third. He hit his first batter then allowed a deep double to right. A sacrifice fly made it 6-0, but Ross settled down the shut the door and would the next inning as well. He allowed two runs on four hits in the sixth making it 8-0. “Jake actually pitched reasonably well. He certainly slowed down their offense. He was forced to come in without really preparing so I commend his efforts in a tough situation. His velocity was also up over some of his previous starts,” Uggen shared.

The Bruins had a difficult time handling Yorktown starter Sullivan Swingley. The senior, who improved to 9-1 with the win, did a masterful job mixes speeds and hitting corners to keep the Bruins off the board through five.

The Bruins finally solved him in the sixth. Caleb Mealy drew Sullivan’s only walk of the game, and only the fifth he has allowed all season, with one out. After a strikeout, pinch runner Charlie Cranston stole second base and Blaine Riddle was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to put runners at first and second. Jake Ross then singled to left center to drive in Cranston for the Bruins first run (and the first that the Bruins had scored in 17 innings including sectional shut out losses to the Tigers in ’14 and ’15) ended the day for Sullivan so that they could rest him for a later game. Drew Caldwell greeted the Tiger reliever with a two RBI single to right to make it 8-3. “I was proud of the way we hung in there and battled. We got our hacks but we just didn’t make a ton of contact until the sixth. Sullivan only allowed 1.37 runs game coming in so we knew this would be a big challenge and we managed to get three off him, Uggen added. Sullivan allowed only four Bruin hits and struck out 11. The Bruins would strike out three more times in the game to finish with 14.

Ross gave way to Dayton Dow who allowed a lead-off single before getting a ground out, strikeout, and liner to short to end the inning. The Bruins went down quietly in the seventh to end their season.

Freshman Drew Caldwell went 2-3. Sophomore Caleb Mealy went 2-2 with a walk. Ross and junior Colton McNeal each added single.

“I think to a man we would all say that this season did not go as expected. I had high hopes for this group, but we never could get over the hump. But I give them credit, they battled down the stretch and we played some really good baseball against some quality opponents late and were within striking distance of many of them. Our opponents this year were also much more successful. Last year our opponents only won about 170 games total. This year it was near 400! So the competition was much better which explains things a little. The good news is was have a lot of kids with experience coming back so I look forward to getting started on the ’19 season,” Uggen stated after the game. “I certainly want to thank all six seniors for their efforts. They were the first group to go all four years with me at the helm. They were a fun group to work with overall and they are all truly great kids. I appreciated their sense of humor which can make things more fun through the grind of a season,” Uggen concluded.

The six seniors who played their last contest as a Blackford Bruin were Tyler Cagle, Dayton Dow, Blaine Riddle, Jake Ross, Braxton Strait and Dylan Thomas.