Big inning, strong defense carry JB over Shippensburg
In a baseball game that featured 12 runs, 18 hits and five extra-base hits, both teams agreed that defense was the biggest factor.
And the best defense was played by James Buchanan.
That's why the Rockets earned a 7-5 Mid Penn Colonial Division victory over Shippensburg on Thursday afternoon.
"They made four or five great plays, and they made no mistakes on all the routine balls," Greyound coach Nate Rosenberry said. "We hit some balls hard, but give credit to them for making the plays."
JB coach Dave Sanchez said, "That's the best game we've played on defense - no errors and some great plays. A couple of them were as good as it gets."
In the top of the third, rightfielder Dalton Echard raced in to make an excellent diving catch. That loomed large because the Hounds went on to score two runs after that.
In the bottom of the fifth, with Ship coming off a two-run inning and trailing 7-5, it was third baseman Jakob Dorty's turn. Trey Lynch hit a screaming line drive just to Dorty's glove side and he snagged it. The next batter, Brock Dull, crushed a one-hopper that Dorty gloved and threw to first for the out, and he later made the assist on the final out of the inning.
Dorty said, "Really, on both of those, it was just a matter of seeing the ball and reacting. I didn't have much time."
In the bottom of the sixth, leadoff batter Jake Frey belted a shot to centerfield with a strong wind behind it. JB's Remi Spoonhour went back, and then back some more, before stretching out to make a splendid grab before tumbling in a heap.
"At first I looked in, but I saw it was going deep," Spoonhour said, "and I knew I'd have to jump to catch it. I think our defense helped turn the game around."
Wyatt Chilcote was the beneficiary of all that glovework. In relief, Chilcote pitched 4 1/3 innings, and allowed five hits and two earned runs. He entered after Ship had drawn four straight runs to plate two runs in the third inning, and left the bases loaded.
Sanchez said, "We needed someone to come in and throw strikes and he did that. The guys made the plays behind him. If we had made an error or two, then it could have gone either way."
There was not much the Shippensburg defense could do in the top of the third when JB banged out six hits - only one of which wasn't tagged - and scored six runs. Hunter Reath and Zane Bray each ripped doubles and Pine clubbed a triple. All three had an RBI, as did Dorty and Chayse Fisher with singles and Chilcote with a ground ball.
Sanchez said, "We have not been hitting the ball well, but we made pretty good contact in that inning and put a few into the gaps."
"We jumped on the first pitch a lot, and that's not something we usually do," Dorty said.
And then they relied on their leather.