Gryphons can't overcome early deficit
It was a chilly Wednesday night at McNair Stadium as the Thomas Jefferson Gryphons welcomed the Highland Tech Rams to town. Unfortunately for the Gryphons, the cold weather and early start time did them no favors as the Rams used a big first inning to beat the Gryphons 7-4.
"We scrapped for a few runs early but when we had big chances with runners in scoring position we just didn't get the job done," TJCA head coach Chris White said after the game.
The Rams jumped on the Gryphons early. The first batters for Highland Tech reached base safely as they put a “5” on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning.
The highlight of the five Highland Tech hits came from Neven Sussman who knocked in three runs with a deep triple to left-center field.
TJCA starter McKinnon Martin got his second strikeout of the inning to stop the bleeding but the damage was done.
"[Martin] usually hits his spots really well and has a good breaking ball, but tonight he didn't have either of those," White said.. "Hopefully we can that back in working order."
Caleb Bishop accounted for the Gryphons first hit of the night with a single into center field. He took off for second a couple pitches later and swiped third as the throw from the catcher found its way into the outfield. Then he scored the first Gryphons run on another Rams miscue as the catcher mishandled a Brohnston Short offering.
TJCA couldn’t chip at the lead any further in the first taking a 5-1 deficit into the top of the second inning.
Highland Tech rightfielder, Johnny Beard, was hit by a pitch in the first inning but got his revenge on Martin in the second with a one-out, two-run homer to right-center field to stretch the Rams lead to 7-1.
Martin retired the next two batters in order but the uphill climb for TJCA became that much steeper.
After a lead-off single for the Rams in the third, it was the end of Martin's time on the mound after allowing seven runs on eight hits in just two-plus innings of work.
Zach Parks took over for the Gryphons and threw two scoreless innings.
Thomas Jefferson made their noise in the bottom half of the fourth inning. David mendez reached with one out after being hit with a pitch. Then an error and a single by David Snyder loaded the basses.
After Snyder, Paul Davis walked to earn an easy RBI that plated Mendez.
Anthony Helton then scored on a passed ball to make it 7-3 and Snyder cut it to 7-4 scoring on a Tyler Mitchell hit-by-pitch.
Mason Martin and Bishop were retired to to stop the damage and the Gryphons left the bases loaded.
Parks and Bishop combined to render the Rams hitless through the final four innings and didn't allow a baserunner to get past second base, but the Gryphon bats couldn't capitalize.
TJCA threatened in the sixth after Parks and Bishop each singled, but a McKinnon Martin liner was squeezed by the center fielder for the final out and the runners were stranded on first and third.
Helton singled in the seventh but Highland Tech hung on for the 7-4 win.
TJCA got hits from Helton, Bishop, Parks and Snyder.
"We just got to hit better," White said. "We're pitching well and playing defense but we just need to hit the baseball."
The Gryphons are back in action Friday when the host Ananth Christian for a 4:30 p.m. start.
WP: Brohnston Short
LP: McKinnon Martin