NEW PARIS – Ansonia’s offense made some progress on Thursday, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Tigers lost 9-7 to National Trail in a Cross County Conference baseball game.
“We started out a little bit slow,” Ansonia coach Dustin Hecht said. “We came on a little bit stronger about the fourth inning, started getting our bats moving. We’re moving in the right direction. It’s just we’ve got to play and put a full game together.”
National Trail scored first in Thursday’s game with three runs in the bottom of the second.
Travis Hunt led off the inning with a single then scored when Trey Mann reached on an error, putting the Blazers up 1-0. Another error put Jacob Heck on base then Hunter Michael drove both runners in with a single to make it a 3-0 game.
Ansonia cut into the deficit in the third inning.
With two outs Kane Kimmel was hit by a pitch. Lane Clark then singled and Rygh Fortkamp doubled to drive in Kimmel and reduce the deficit to 3-1.
National Trail added three more runs in the bottom half of the inning, though, to lead 6-1.
Logan Pettit led off with a walk and went to second on a single by Hunt. Following a passed ball that put the runners on second and third, Mann singled to bring in both and make it 5-1. Mann then stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael to increase the Trail lead to 6-1.
Ansonia pulled within two runs in the fifth inning.
Ethan Fischer and Clark singled to start the Tiger rally. Fortkamp reached on an error, which allowed Fischer to score and make it 6-2. Tyler Neal then singled to bring in two more runs and reduce the Blazer lead to 6-4.
“Once they started getting the bats out there they started swinging them and we started making things happen,” Hecht said. “And that’s moving in the right direction. That’s all I can ask for.”
National Trail added to its lead in the bottom half of the inning when Hunt reached base on an error, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball, making it a 7-4 game.
The Blazers then scored their final two runs in the sixth inning.
Hunter Lee led off the inning with a single and went on to score on a sacrifice fly by Peyton Lane. Pettitt drew a two-out walk and scored on a double by Peyton Miller, increasing the National Trail advantage to 9-4.
Ansonia didn’t go away quietly, though, as the Tigers rallied with two outs in the seventh inning.
Fortkamp started the late charge with a two-out single, and Neal singled to put runners on the corners. Keith Burk reached base on an error, which scored Fortkamp to make it 9-5.
Josh Heitkamp then singled, bringing in Neal and making it 9-6. Caleb Jones continued the rally with a single, bringing in another run and making it 9-7.
Ansonia had runners on the corners with the potential winning run at the plate but couldn’t keep the rally going as the Tigers lost by two runs.
“We done that with two outs,” Hecht said of his team’s seventh inning rally. “I’m extremely happy that we were able to go out there and just continue being confident at the plate and making things happen. We’re definitely doing the right things.”
Both Ansonia and National Trail had nine hits on Thursday. Ansonia committed three errors while Trail had four.
Fortkamp went 2-for-4 with a double, a stolen base, a RBI and two runs for Ansonia. Neal was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Clark was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run.
Heitkamp was 1-for-3, was hit by a pitch and drove in a run. Jones was 1-for-4 and drove in a run. Fischer was 1-for-4 and scored a run. Kimmel was hit by a pitch and scored a run. Burk was hit by a pitch, and his pinch runner, Aric Barga, scored a run.
Clark was the losing pitcher for Ansonia as he went 3 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs and four unearned runs on six hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Fischer pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief, allowing two earned runs and one unearned run on three hits, one walk and one strikeout.
Ansonia fell to 1-7 overall and 0-3 in the CCC with Thursday’s loss. The Tigers will play host to Tri-County North on Friday.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.