Granby " MIddle Park baseball team loses doubleheader but hangs tough with top team |

Granby " MIddle Park baseball team loses doubleheader but hangs tough with top team

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

Middle Park High’s baseball team hit another pothole on its victory road by losing a second doubleheader to a top Metro League team last weekend.

Last Saturday, March 29, the Panthers were shut out 9-0 in the first game of their doubleheader against Bishop Machebeuf. Middle Park’s ballplayers then put up a strong fight in the second game, only losing it 11-10 to the Buffaloes in the final inning.

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Panthers were not focused. They quickly fell behind and never got on the scoreboard in the 9-0 shutout.

“We started that doubleheader pretty rough,” said coach James Newberry. “At the top of the first inning, we gave up to Machebeuf three hits, two walks and four steals for three runs. That kind of set the tone for the rest of that game.”

The Buffaloes scattered six more runs over the remaining six innings. Although the Panthers earned some hits, none got past second base.

“Our batters struck out 11 times. We had no offense. That about sums up that game,” Newberry said.

P.J. Cross pitched a third of an inning. Brian Moore came in to pitch 6-2/3 innings, earning six strikeouts and giving up only two walks.

As the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader began, it looked as if the Buffaloes were headed for another easy win after they racked up two unearned runs at the bottom of the first inning.

At the top of the third inning, Middle Park woke up and started playing ball. Jordan Reynolds got things going by blasting a double into the outfield, followed by Matt Hydrusko singling and then stealing second base.

With runners at second and third bases, Cross stepped to the plate and belted a single into the outfield. Reynolds and Hydrusko sprinted to home plate to tie the score 2-2.

The Buffaloes did not like that. Getting back up to bat in the bottom of the third inning, they recaptured the lead with three more runs.

But then the Panthers matched them at the top of the fourth inning with three runs of their own. Chad Sprague batted a double to be followed on base by Alex Morrow who singled. Reynolds then singled to drive in Sprague who was quickly joined at home plate by Morrow who scored on a past ball. A single batted by Sutton earned an RBI as Reynolds raced to home.

That 5-5 tie lasted until the bottom of the fourth as Machebeuf put one more run on the scoreboard. But then Middle Park re-tied it at the top of the fifth after Morrow picked up an RBI by singling to drive in Cross who had gotten a base hit.

The tied score was broken again at the bottom of the fifth as the Buffaloes posted two more runs. Machebeuf added another two runs at the bottom of the sixth inning to raise the score to 10-6.

Trailing by four runs as they began their final time at bat at the top of the seventh inning, the Panthers were not about to give up. They dug deep and came up with a rally.

With two outs already against them, Middle Park’s Justen Strang and Reynolds kept things alive by both getting on base with singles. Hydrusko then walloped the ball into the outfield to score Strang. Reynolds also reached home plate after Ian Sutton singled.

With two men on and still trailing by two runs, Mike Zieff came up to bat and blasted the ball into the outfield for a single. That hit was just enough to drive in both Hydrusko and Sutton who tied the score 10-10.

“We were feeling pretty good right then,” Newberry said. “That was quite a comeback for us.”

However, Machebeuf had one more time at bat in the bottom of the seventh inning. A misplayed ball in the outfield by the Panther defense, followed by double drove in the winning run for the Buffaloes.

“The learning moment in that game is that five of Machebeuf’s runs started as walks and three other of their eventual runs got on by errors,” Newberry said. “We allowed eight of their 11 runs to get to first base, which is why it was a heartbreaking loss.

“But the positive side of that final game is that we almost beat one of the top five teams in the state. We now know we can really play them,” he said.

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