Written by AO Tuesday, 25 March 2008 15:22
The Tabor College baseball team handed Bethany its first loss of the conference season Tuesday in Hillsboro. The opener went to the Bluejays 3-2 on the strength of a complete game by Alfred Wilson. The second game went to Bethany 6-3.
Bethany went up 1-0 in the first inning of the first game, and looked primed for more when Tabor posted a 6-4-3 double play. The infield produced another double play in the top of the second inning, and the Bluejays snatched the lead in the bottom half.
Andrew Cook got the offensive good times rolling with a deep fly to right field that carried more than enough to clear the right field fence. A single and a hit batter followed by a strikeout brought Wilson to the plate with two outs and a chance to help his own cause. Wilson promptly double and put Tabor up by a 2-1 margin. Jordan Lago followed with an RBI single that extended the lead to 3-1, and Chris Brown appeared for a moment to have tacked on another run when lofted a would-be double a fraction out of the right fielder's reach—but the chip shot drifted in the breeze and fell perhaps a foot into foul ground.
Brown flied out on the next pitch, and neither team pushed a run across until the top of the seventh.
Bethany threatened in the sixth when a double down the left field line was followed up by a single over Lago's head. But neither runner came in, as Wilson induced back-to-back groundouts to stifle the Swedes.
The seventh began with a hit batsman that prompted coach Chad Newhard to visit the mound, and apparently to bring in a relief pitcher. But Newhard waived off the relief pitcher midway through his chat with Wilson, and left the pitcher in to finish what he started.
Wilson came through, inducing a groundball that turned into a second baserunner rather than an out. Bethany then dropped down a bunt, which Wilson fielded to record the first out of the inning. The second came in the form of a sacrifice fly—a can-of-corn popup that carried deep enough to allow a tagging runner to score. Two pitches later, the final out settled into the center fielder's glove, and Tabor secured its fourth conference win of the season.
The second game followed a nearly identical script, but came out with Bethany on top after Tyler Suderman tossed a gem. But without the firepower the Bluejays flashed in Monday's wins over Manhattan Christian, a late rally was not in store.
Bethany claimed a 3-1 lead in the second and Tabor tied it in the third when the Swede right fielder dropped a fly ball. Aaron Stepanek scored the tying run. Bethany regained the lead, 5-3, in the top of the fourth, and Tabor did not push another run across.
The Bluejays best offensive opportunity came in the fifth, when Wilson was hit by a pitch leading off the inning. But a baserunning error a moment later cleared him from the bases during Lago's at bat. Lago then knocked a single, but was caught stealing on the back end of a strike-'em-out-throw-'em-out double play.
Determined not to go quietly, the Bluejays worked two walks in the bottom of the sixth, but could not break through with a 2-out hit. Neither did Tabor score in the seventh.
Tabor plays tomorrow (Wednesday) at Saint Mary.