The baseball Bruins picked up their first win of the season after defeating DeKalb County (TN) 6-4 in their opener on Saturday. Eli Morris pitched all five innings allow four runs, two earned, on four hits. He walked four and struck out two to earn his first career win.
The Bruins struck quickly in the first. After a strikeout, Ethan Morris walked and Cam Elam was hit by pitch. Eli Martin followed with a walk to load the bases. Dane Baker hit a 1-0 fast ball into right-center field to knock in two. Baker and Martin then executed the double-steal to perfection to put the Bruins up 3-0 after one.
The Bruins added two more in the second. After a one-out walk to Nate Limle, Taylor Glawson walked. Ethan Morris then laid down a bunt that was thrown down the right field lie scoring Limle. Eli Martin then drew an RBI walk to make it 5-0.
The young Bruins then let the defense lapse in the third. After a walk, a pop up in front of the mound was misplayed, but with plenty of time to get the runner at second, Eli Martin’s throwed sailed into centerfield to open the door or a Tiger comeback. A base hit bunt loaded the bases followed by an error by shortstop Ethan Morris to make it 5-1. Back to back singles made it 5-3 with no outs, but Martin got the next batter to ground to Morris at short who stepped on the bag and fired a one-hop throw to Mason Merkel at first for a double play. A run scored on the play, but Martin got a fly to Taylor Glawson to get out of the jam up 5-4.
Gavin Collett led off the fourth with a single to center. Brayden Teer grounded into a fielder’s choice but quickly stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Nate Limle then hit an RBI groundout to second, scoring Teer, to put the Bruins back up two.
Both teams threatened, but did not score in the fourth. The Tigers got a drive down the left field line that Brayden Teer made a diving catch on for out number one. The next batter hit it slightly over Teer’s head but he made a nice catch for out number two. Then Teer ended it on a routine catch in left. In the Viking Classic, games cannot start an inning after 1:45, so the game was stopped at that point as there remained just three minutes left with the Bruins coming to bat. The official stopped the game with the Bruins, as the home team, ahead.
The Bruins managed just three hits from Baker, Elam and Collett. But also took advantage of five walks and five stolen bases.
“This was a good win. We were much more into this game from start to finish. The seniors shared at out bonding meeting the night before that we have to be more focused and I think that was evident and made a difference,” Coach Tony Uggen said. “We are young, so we have to develop chemistry and trust on one another that we are all-in. That was a good start. We did some good things offensively despite not having a lot of hits. That’s a good sign.”
In game two, the Bruins weren’t so as fortunate as Richland (TN) proved to be a very good team with quality pitching early. The Richland starter was a lefty with good stuff and he pitched two innings allowing only one baserunner due to a walk.
After a good first inning by starter Ethan Morris, a freshman, Richland took advantage of an early error to score three runs in the second. A series of Bruin errors led to an eight-run third giving Richland an 11-0 lead. Things could have gotten much worse but a line shot straight to Jeremiah Clark, who made the catch, ended the inning preventing another run or two.
The Bruins went down in order in the third off a new pitcher, but did manage to break the shutout in the fourth when Cam Elam scored on a balk by the pitcher. Richland went on to win 13-1. The Bruins fell to 1-2 with the loss.
Morris took the loss on the mound. He allowed six hits and walked one. Mason Merkel pitched an inning allowing two runs on four hits. Nate Limle pitched 1.1 innings and allowed no runs, a hit and a walk.
“Ethan (Morris) pitched pretty well against a very good baseball team, but just didn’t get much help from his defense. They caused him to throw several extra pitches a couple innings. But the positive is that he had to work through some jams and that experience will pay dividends as it grows as pitcher,” said Uggen. “He and Mason are frosh and Limle is sophomore. They just need to learn to go battle and they could be very good for us down the road and help eat up innings in ‘throw away’ games like this one became. And we didn’t have arguably our second-best hitter and a top four pitcher this weekend in Landon Rogers and Cam (Elam), maybe our best pitcher, didn’t pitch at all this weekend due to Eli (Martin) being unable to catch with some back pain after his outing. Those two will throw on Tuesday.”
The Bruins lone hits came from Morris and freshman pinch-hitter Kaleb Patrick in the fourth. “We only got five hits today and three of them came from freshmen. I told them last night that they are no longer freshmen, sophomores, etc., but Bruins. Again, this is a young team so they will make mistakes, but we have to gel, work on fixing our mistakes, and keep learning how to battle. I think we did that in Tennessee, more so on Saturday. We also know we could have came home 2-1, and that first loss hurt, but we responded well. It was a good trip,” added Uggen.
Th Bruins (1-2) will travel to Maconaquah to face a team with 12 seniors on Tuesday. That game will start at 6pm. They then face what should be a very good team at Bluffton on Thursday weather permitting. The Bruins do not open at home until Friday, April 16th, when they host Southern Wells for a double-header beginning at 5pm.