Last Tuesday, the M-A baseball team fell to their crosstown rivals, the Sacred Heart Gators, by a score of 9-5.
In the first inning, junior Rowan Kelly was thrown out of the ball game by the home plate umpire for having too much pine tar on his bat. Kelly’s ejection caused an uproar in the Bears’ dugout and immediately swung the momentum of the game in favor of Sacred Heart.
Senior Henry Bei said, “It was an illegal ejection. You aren’t allowed to eject a player for too much pine tar on a bat, that’s just not a thing an umpire can do.”
In the bottom of the first, junior pitcher James Gray walked Sacred Heart’s first two hitters before giving up a single that put the Gators up 1-0. Moments later, another single scored both runners on base, bringing the score up to 3-0.
At the bottom of the third inning Sacred Heart extended their lead, thanks to a few errant pitches from M-A, entering the fourth inning with a commanding 8-0 lead.
The Bears struggled with their batting, unable to get runners into effective scoring positions. Junior Jimmy Zaharias explained, “Early on we weren’t stringing hits and good at-bats together.” He also commended the Gators’ pitching, saying, “Props to their pitcher. He threw a ton of strikes that were hard to reach.”
In the top of the fifth, the Bears started to bounce back. A leadoff double from senior George Zaharias got the ball moving. Shortly after, junior Harrison Long brought him home by hitting a double of his own. When Long attempted to steal third, the Gators’ catcher threw the ball over the third baseman’s head, allowing Long to run all the way home. The doubles kept coming for the Bears as junior Joaquin Baranchuk doubled and brought senior Davis Phillips home to make the score 8-3. Junior Trevor Heinz converted a fourth double of the inning for M-A, cutting the Sacred Heart lead to just four runs.
Despite the Bears’ mounting momentum, Sacred Heart was able to drive another run home in the sixth inning, which brought their lead back to a comfortable five points.
In a last gasp effort, the Bears tried to rally in the seventh. After Phillips grounded the ball to third in what should have been a routine out, the third baseman overthrew first base and Phillips was able to make it all the way to third. Soon after, a grounderallowed Phillips to run home, bringing the score to 9-5. Despite M-A’s additional run, the Gators were able to close out the game without allowing any more M-A points, sealing the loss for M-A.
The Bears will return to the diamond on Saturday at 11 a.m. to face the Saint Francis Lancers.