LEWISBURG – The Bradford baseball team lost 11-1 to Tri-County North in a Cross County Conference game on Thursday.
Bradford and Tri-County North were able to get in their baseball game even though the softball game was canceled because the officiating crew deemed the field unplayable.
The baseball diamond had the advantage of having a grass infield – so the infield was not as soupy as an all-dirt infield would have been from the shower that passed through prior to the game. But the North team and even a few of the North parents put their backs to it – spreading sand, raking the grounds and putting out an effort almost all the way to the start of the game to get the field in condition.
North has been a dominate force in the CCC in baseball, and details like getting the field in shape are part of what makes a good program. And when you face a good team like North you cannot afford to make mistakes.
Bradford got off to a shaky start with some early errors and spotted North a lead. The Railroaders seemed poised to recover but let the Panthers slip off the hook in the fourth inning when they had the starting pitcher on the ropes. That seemed to take the wind out of the sails of Bradford as North followed up with big inning of its own that extended the lead. The game was over in the home half of the fifth as North scored its 11th run for an 11-1 win.
The new pitch count rule is something that coaches must account for as coaches have to plan ahead with their pitchers. There is a formula that coaches must adhere to for the number of pitches vs. the number of days of rest that a pitcher must have before they can pitch again.
Bradford has a game on Friday and then a doubleheader on Saturday. Being a small school the Railroaders have to watch carefully or they would run out of pitchers with five games in four days.
So there will be times this season where the mound will seem like a merry-go-round as teams calculate how many pitches they can allot to a given pitcher in a game.
This go-round Bradford used three pitchers (Mason Justice, Chandler Martin and Josh Phillips) so that they could make it through the weekend with enough arms.
As mentioned they did threaten in the fourth inning when North’s starting pitcher Tanner Booth had problems finding the strike zone and loaded the bases. Justice scored Bradford’s lone run from third base on a wild pitch. The next batter grounded out and the last batter chased some pitches out of the strike zone for the third out and stranded two runners in scoring position.
Bradford’s second baseman added a defensive highlight when he created a double play by snagging a sizzling line drive and then throwing out a base runner at first base.
“North is a hard hitting team, and we weren’t ready for it on defense early in the game,” Bradford baseball coach Shane Snyder said. “We had some errors early that cost us. Walks and errors equals runs, and that is what happened to us. The pitch count is something that we have to work with this season. We had to use three players today so that we can make it through the next two days with a doubleheader on Saturday. It bit us today as our starting pitcher was throwing pretty good, but we had to pull him because of pitch counts. Tomorrow against Fairlawn we might have to have a couple of JV guys throw. But whoever we put out there has to throw strikes – that is key to this game.”