There is one age-old fact in the game of baseball and unfortunately for Bald Eagles Area, the Eagles experienced that fact in their PIAA Class AA first-round game Monday afternoon at Bowman Field.
If you don’t hit and don’t score, it is all but impossible to win the game. That was pretty much the story of a 6-1 loss to defending state champion Loyalsock.
“That is the bottom line,” BEA coach Jim Gardner said. “We had two hits in two games and that just isn’t going to get it done. If you don’t hit and put pressure on the (opposing) pitcher, it makes it tough. They were able to tack on runs here and there. We saw a lot of good teams, but we just didn’t see a lot of strong pitching. You can’t emulate what we saw today in practice.”
Doing the starting pitching for the Lancers was Kyle Datres. Over the first five innings, the righthander allowed the Eagles no runs on one hit. Datres kept the Eagle batters off stride in his strong effort, showing six strikeouts while walking none.
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For BEA, Colton Comly went into the fifth inning before the wheels fell off the Eagles’ wagon. Up to that point, Loyalsock was clinging to a slim 2-0 lead.
“Colton pitched well enough to win a lot of ball games,” Gardner said. “We just needed to help him out by getting some hits and scoring some runs, but we weren’t able to do that. He has done a great job for us all year long and I am looking forward to having him back.”
The Lancers broke on top in the bottom of the first inning when they put together a hit batsman, a walk and an RBI single by Tommy Baggett to take a 1-0 lead.
The margin held up until the third when Loyalsock used a double by Datres and an RBI single by Jimmy Webb for a 2-0 advantage.
Following the trend of scoring in the odd innings, the Lancers all but put the game away in the fifth when they parlayed four hits, a pair of walks and a sacrifice bunt for four runs to extend their lead 6-0.
Not willing to settle for being shut out or no-hit, the Eagles kept battling right to the final out when they scored their run. Bryan Greene reached on a Lancers’ error and later scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Nate Cleaver.
“The kids kept battling to the end,” Gardner said. “But the bottom line was that he (Datres) was overpowering to the point where we couldn’t get good swings and make solid contact.”
With only one out, Jordan Kobularcik went the opposite way for the Eagles as he beat out an infield single to deep short.
However, not to let things get out of hand for his team, Loyalsock reliever Andrew Malone retired the final two Eagles to seal the deal.
With the loss, BEA wraps up its season at 14-8. Playing their final game for the Eagles were Dakota Bartley, Tyler Schall, Otis Statham, Bryce Greene, Ryan Dyke, Nate Cleaver, Jordan Kobularcik, Bryan Greene and Jeff Bennett.
“Four of them have been with me for three years and the others have worked their way in there and helped the team a lot,” Gardner said. “When you have your third baseman, catcher and shortstop for three years you don’t have to worry. You knew they were going to be there and be solid. It has been such a luxury to have them there and even though Nate (Cleaver) was injured and couldn’t pitch this year, he meant a lot to the team.
“Kobo (Kobularcik) stepped in there and did a great job for us,” Gardner added. “Those guys are going to be hard to replace, but I was looking at what was coming back and I am really excited about what I see for us in the future. I am excited about next year. Obviously, I wanted to go the distance this year because I knew these guys would battle and give it everything they had. Unfortunately for us, it just didn’t happen.”