Region play hasn’t been kind to Bulloch Academy this baseball season, and Thursday afternoon the Gators did themselves no favors trying to get off the schnide.
Make it four games in a row now BA has lost following a 3-1 start to the 2017 campaign. BA’s 11-0 loss to Frederica in just five innings summed up all of head coach Kyle Chambers frustrations from this season: bad defense, bad luck and bad timing.
“We had an injury where Jad Street had to play second, so we had to scramble and put someone at third who hadn’t really played there before,” Chambers said. “That’s my fault for not getting those two more ready, but we can’t lean on those two alone. This was a team loss.”
Much like against Pinewood and Trinity-Dublin, inconveniently timed errors would doom Bulloch Academy in their loss to the Knights Tuesday. While the loss to Trinity-Dublin was a close affair the Gators loss in extra innings, the Frederica game was more aligned with the 11-1 drubbing by Pinewood.
The difference between the two contests was Pinewood earned their runs against Alex Cauthen, lighting the senior up for six earned runs off four hits and four walks. Bulloch Academy basically handed the game to Frederica via errors.
Through it wasn’t the errors initially that fouled up the top of the second — the frame where everything went wrong for BA.
Pitcher Walker Hennon gave up three consecutive hits to start the inning, with the latter being a double to drive in the opening run.
The error that broke the seal was an overthrown ball from third to first by BA, allowing the Frederica at third to double the score 2-0. Then following a hit batter to load the bases, it seemed like Hennon had forced the ground ball at second to try and trade two outs for a run.
Alas the ball would go right through the hands of Jad Street, letting another run score while the ball slowly trickled through the grass in centerfield. Davis Childs charged in to try and get a runner making his way to third — but his throw would be wide the mark at third and get lodged beneath the rain tarp rolled up in foul territory on the third base side.
Just like that, the score was 5-0, no outs and a runner on third. Only one of those runs would be charged to Hennon.
“I thought Walker pitched a great game, I didn’t even want to take him out but we needed someone to play the infield,” Chambers said. “We have some soul searching to do as a team.”
Frederica would tack on two more in the inning to make it 7-0, and slowly keep chipping away at Brock Sapp and Cauthen in relief to finally force the mercy-rule win. This makes the second time BA’s been marcy ruled this year in region play — the first against Pinewood in the aforementioned loss.
BA would register merely one hit the entire game — a double by Childs in the top of the first inning to give BA their only runner in scoring position for the afternoon. But Childs wouldn’t move any further that inning, as Frederica starter Trey Thompson struck out two of the next three batters he saw to end the Gator scoring threat.
Thompson kept BA off balance all afternoon with off-speed pitches that consistently broke low and away. He threw 66.2 percent of his pitches for strikes in all five innings, striking out eight Gators while allowing just one hit and two walks. It’s that kind of pitching that, according to Chambers, makes Frederica the team to beat in their region.
“He threw a lot of off speed stuff from a left hand with some arm slots we weren’t used too,” Chambers said.
BA (3-5, 0-4) will be near desperate for a region win when they face Edmund Burke again at home Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.