By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Madison Southern baseball team lost a heartbreaker to Whitley County Thursday 5-4, in a game that they led early but let slip away.
The Eagles sent eight men to the plate and scored four runs in the second inning on only two hits.
But the Colonels slowly climbed back into it, thanks in part to mistakes by the Eagles.
Whitley scored one run each in the third and fourth innings, both aided by Southern errors, then tied the game at 4-4 with two runs in the fifth, one of which was unearned.
“It has been this way pretty much all season. We’ve had passed balls hurting us, we’ve thrown the ball into right field trying to pick a man off first base. A lot of stuff we work on over and over again in practice, we’re still not executing,” Southern coach Dusty Hon said. “We executed offensively really in one inning. We’re just young and we’re still learning.”
Southern starting pitcher sophomore Griffen Norris had a strong outing, going six innings, giving up eight hits, walking three and striking out one.
He shut the door on Whitley County scoring opportunities in several innings, including shutting the door after the Colonels had tied the game in the fifth inning, stranding runners on second and third.
In the sixth inning he got a strikeout and a fly ball to short right field to once again strand the go-ahead run at third base and give his team a chance to retake the lead.
“Griffen did an excellent job. He’s getting stronger and stronger and he got out of some tough situations there. I was very proud of him and the way he kept battling,” Hon said.
The Colonels finally broke through in the seventh against reliever Lucas Reynolds, scoring the go-ahead run with two outs.
Reynolds gave up two hits and two walks in one inning and was charged with the loss.
Whitley’s Alex Rose shut down the Eagles in the seventh to preserve the win.
Center fielder Chris Anderson led the way for the Eagles at the plate with a single and a double, while Reynolds, Andrew Evans and Norris each had one single.
Despite the disappointing loss, Hahn said he is seeing some improvement in his young squad and knows better days are ahead.
“It is disappointing, but we’re looking more like a baseball team. It’s definitely a work in progress but it will come,” Hon said. “I’m a new coach and I’m learning just like everyone else is. I’m looking at the big picture, which is, here in a couple of years we’ll be bigger and stronger and we’ll be fine. We’ll get there. I’m still positive.”
The Eagles will be back in action today at 5:30 p.m. when they take on Lexington Catholic in Capitol City Classic in Frankfort.