Trojan bullpen gives up lead, game to Pleasant Grove
After escaping with a 5-4 win at the start a three-game series with the Pleasant Grove Eagles, the host Oak Ridge baseball team fell flat on offense after three explosive innings while the bullpen spoiled five and two-thirds strong innings from Lance Berringer in a 7-6 setback.
“What seems to be a pattern for us recently is that we come out energetic, grab a lead, but then put ourselves on cruise control,” dejected coach Todd Melton said after the loss. “We have nobody to blame but ourselves for this loss.”
Berringer breezed through the first inning, allowing only a two-out double. In the bottom half, Alec de Watteville took the first pitch from Tyler Rathjen and drove it over the fence for a first-pitch home run that careened off the scoreboard.
After a strikeout and groundout, Zach Mahon slapped a sharp liner into center field for a single. After Mahon stole second, Berringer doubled past first base, chasing a second run home. A strikeout ended the inning but Oak Ridge, ranked second, held a 2-0 lead at the end of one inning.
Pleasant Grove, the No. 6 ranked team in the area, tied the score after three consecutive singles when Michael Yanez cracked a sharp single into right field that scored two runs. Troy escaped further damage in tagging out two Eagles at the plate.
Oak Ridge went quietly in the bottom of the second but responded with four in the third. After a de Watteville single and advancement to second on an errant pick-off attempt, he went to third on Mason Watkins’s grounder and came in as Cody Morris singled up the middle.
Mahon’s single to right chased Watkins home. Two batters later, Alex Fagalde delivered a pinch single to plate Berringer and Jack Rico followed that with a single to left-center to knock in Logan Marston with Oak Ridge’s last run.
The entire fourth and fifth inning went by with nothing to show for it except for a double by Watkins, and Oak Ridge led 6-2 at the end of five.
Yanez’ RBI double in the sixth ended Berringer’s afternoon as Jared Ross replaced him. Afer a walk, Ross recorded an inning-ending strikeout to keep the score at 6-3.
Ross’ wildness to start the seventh cost him. Afer walking and hitting a batter, Zack Stilwell singled to drive home the inning’s first run and after Nico Toni doubled to score the second, Oak Ridge clung to a one-run advantage with Eagles at second and third and none out.
A sacrifice fly tied the game as Watkins replaced Ross. Two walks loaded the bases with two outs and the visitors went ahead when a play at third went against the Trojans.
Berringer worked a walk to lead off the Trojans’ final at bat advanced on Marston’s sacrifice bunt. Fagalde’s deep fly was caught at the warning track for the second out but a single from FP Santangelo kept the inning alive and moved Berringer to third.
Santangelo stole second to move the potential winning run up 90 feet but a fly out to shallow right field allowed the Eagles to escape with the win.
“We can’t expect to beat good teams like Pleasant Grove on a regular basis if we only bring the intensity half of the time,” Melton said.