Errors erase late Gryphons lead
After a five-error game cost Thomas Jefferson a win against Highland Tech on Monday, the Gryphons repeated the act on Tuesday in a 6-4 loss to Cherryville at McNair Field that included six errors.
TJCA (3-6, 1-5 SPC) took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning and looked poised to pull of an early-season upset, but a passed pall and a fielding error allowed the Ironmen (7-2, 5-0 SPC) to retake a lead they didn't relinquish.
"We're still making way too many mistakes," TJCA head coach Chris White said. "Whether it be passed balls or plays we're trying to rush, it's just plays we need to make.
"Ten games into the season this sort of thing should be over with."
Cherryville jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning against starter Brandon Riggs, but once Mason Martin made a spectacular diving catch in left-center field to end the inning, Riggs settled in and kept the Ironmen off the board until the sixth inning.
The Gryphons cut into the Cherryville lead in the third inning when Stephen Moss scored Martin from second base and advanced to third on a bad throw from left field trying to catch Martin at the plate.
Austin Pressley followed with a high fly ball to left field that the wind took all the way off the left field fence for an RBI triple scoring Moss to make the score 3-2.
Cherryville had a chance to break the game open with the bases loaded and just one out in the top of the fourth, but Riggs recorded a strikeout and forced a soft grounder to escape the inning untouched.
Riggs was in another precarious situation in the fifth when the Gryphons opened the inning with back-to-back errors. But again, with the help of another diving catch by Martin with runners on second and third, Riggs kept the Ironmen from crossing the plate.
"Mason [Martin] is great in center," White said. "It's impressive but he's just that type of player that can make those catches."
It was the Gryphons' to load the bases in the fifth inning after Brooks Corder was hit by a pitch to put runners on every base with just one out.
Coleman Putnam struck out for the second out, but Zane Jackson tied the game on a passed ball during the next at-bat.
Then, on what appeared to be a broken squeeze play, Pressley stole home from third base to give Thomas Jefferson a 4-3 lead. Corder was gunned out at third during the play to end the inning.
Cherryville responded by loading the bases again with no outs. Austin Wilkerson scored on a passed ball to tie the game and then with two outs, Jackson misplayed a soft grounder to second allowing Cherryville to score the go-ahead run.
Chaerryville added another unearned run in the seventh to pad its lead.
Zach Parks led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and moved to third base on a pair of fielder's choices, but Cherryville's Dillon Harris struck out Pressley on three pitches to end the game and ice the 6-4 win.
It makes me feel good that we can play with these guys, but at this point in the season there are no moral victories," White said. "We need to put these games in the win column."
Harris got the win for the Ironmen in relief while Riggs was tabbed with the loss after pitching 5.1 innings and striking out five.
'Riggs pitched a great game," White said. "We've gotten good pitching lately, we just haven't made the plays behind them."
Pressley led the Gryphons with two hits.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
at McNair Field
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
CHERRYVILLE 6, THOMAS JEFFERSON 4
CHS^300^002^1 — 6 7 1
TJCA^002^020^0 — 4 7 6
WP: Dillon Harris
LP: Brandon Riggs