By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Berea Community baseball team went into its matchup with Lexington Christian Academy in the All “A” Classic Monday with a lot of confidence.
The Pirates entered the game 7-3 on the year and winners of five of their last six games.
But Monday, the Eagles brought them crashing down to earth.
LCA pounded out 14 hits, seven for extra bases, and got a no-hitter from pitcher Ben Cooper, on the way to a 15-0 shutout of the Pirates.
Berea coach Sean Linville said the rout could be good for his team, which might have been feeling a little too good about itself.
“Sometimes it’s good to be humbled. That is my take on it. We’ve been riding high a little bit, but we’ve been talking about our competition level and who we’re playing and what we’ve been doing,” Linville said. “I don’t want them to forget about it. If you are a competitor, you hope it sticks in your craw as motivation. It could be the best 15-0 butt-whipping they ever had.”
The Eagles jumped on top in the first inning, making Berea pay for a miscue at third base on a steal attempt, when the next batter, Lincoln Henzman, drilled a home run over the left-field fence to give LCA a 3-0 lead.
LCA added another run in the second, then sent eight batters to the plate, scoring four more runs off Berea ace Gabe Long in the third to take an 8-0 lead.
While Long was struggling, Cooper kept the Berea hitters off balance all day.
Linville said the Pirates problems at the plate were not all due to Cooper’s pitching, some of them were self-inflicted.
“It was impressive what they did out there today and discouraging on our part in that there were a lot of location pitches that we didn’t adjust to,” Linville said. “We wanted to hit it where we wanted to and didn’t adjust. Against teams like this that are willing to do what they are supposed to with pitches, you’ve got to be willing to adjust to the pitches and we didn’t. But I give a ton of credit to them. That’s how I know we are capable of hitting it.”
LCA scored three runs in the fifth inning.
Long, who struggled with his control all day, went 3 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits and 11 runs. He struck out one batter and issued five walks.
Daniel Wilkerson came on in relief and went 1 1/3 inning, giving up six hits and four runs. He struck out one and walked one.
Linville said he like Wilkerson’s demeanor when he took the mound.
“Nobody likes to come into an 8-0 game, but he took the ball and did his job and that’s all you ask of them,” Linville said. “When Gabe is really good, I talk about how good he is. Today he was not. But I know Gabe, he’ll bounce back from this and put it behind him.”
Berea returns to action on Wednesday when it plays host to Cordia in a pair of five-inning contests.
Model tops Lincoln County
The Patriots (4-8) picked up an impressive win Monday on the road.
Jesse Middleton ripped two doubled off the fence and also had an RBI single, as the Patriots defeated Lincoln County, 6-0. AJ Hammons and Middleton combined for the shutout on the mound.
Cody Jones was 2-for-4 with two singles and two RBI.
Since opening the season 0-6, Model has won four of its past six games.
The Patriots are set to return to action today at Nicholas County.