|Twister scenario is ‘worst’ possible |
|Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 3:07 pm |
Like everyone else even remotely associated with the Union City baseball program, Jeremy Maddox was at a loss for words.
Union City’s Branson Sherwood looks for a sign during Friday’s defeat.
“I don’t know… ” the Tornado skipper said, his voice tailing off after watching his team’s stunning collapse in a 13-0 five-inning loss to Trinity Christian Academy in Friday’s Class 1A sectional game at Elam Stadium. “I’ll have a think for while about that one.”
Neither Maddox nor his players nor the several hundred Purple and Gold fans in attendance could’ve envisioned Union City playing one of its worst games of the year at the most inopportune time.
The Twisters (24-8) committed four first-inning errors that led to five unearned TCA runs and were guilty of six fielding misplays all totaled — at least one by every infielder.
In addition, UC was guilty of issuing six walks, a balk, and had passed balls and wild pitches along with committing a couple of mental lapses.
All totaled, 10 of Trinity Christian’s runs were unearned.
Adding to the puzzling performance was that UC was coming off likely its most complete showing of the year two days earlier when it upset District 14A champion Greenfield, a team that had beaten the locals three times in four previous meetings this spring.
“I just really don’t know exactly what it was, but I don’t think it had anything to do with a letdown from Wednesday,” Maddox went on to say. “Our guys were focused in practice on Thursday, and I thought we had a good approach when we showed up today.
“We just didn’t play well. And we’re the type of team that has to be solid all-around because we’re not going to wow you with an explosive offense or dominate you with shut-down pitching. It was just an awful time to have a bad day.”
The Lions, who will be making their first-ever state tournament trip, hit just one ball out of the infield in the nightmarish first inning — that being Daniel Watkins’ two-RBI single after two errors and a walk. TCA’s other three tallies came in on two more misplays.
The visitors then scored in every other inning with only the two in the second and one run in the fifth being earned.
UC, in turn, never seriously threatened while failing to advance a runner past second base.
Caleb Long’s one-out double to the leftfield fence in the second and back-to-back singles by Brandon Griffin and Drew Cooley in the fifth marked the only time the Tornadoes put runners in scoring position. Cameron Powers had the locals’ other hit, an infield single.
“They made the routine plays and got big hits and we didn’t do either one,” Maddox added.
Clay Treece (9-2), the victim of shaky defense, was charged with the mound loss after pitching into the fourth before being relieved by Eric Moore.
TCA southpaw Patrick McGrath, who aided his own cause with a couple of hits, allowed just four safeties while striking out seven Tornado batters to earn the win.
Maddox’ mood did brighten when speaking of six graduating seniors that led the Tornadoes to the second-most wins in school history and regional title for the first time since 1995.
“Those guys (Griffin, Powers, Matthew Keathley, Branson Sherwood, Tyler Steward and Kevin Freeman) really gave us great leadership and were a big part of what we accomplished this year,” the UC coach said. “Every time during the season and the tournaments when we had our backs to the wall, they stepped up and played well. We didn’t do that today, but it in no way takes away from the season as a whole.”
A talented sophomore class gives hope for a continued bright future with outfielders Drake Parker and Long — the team’s most productive offensive players — along with team pitching ace Treece and Cooley all among those returning next season.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.