BRADFORD – Bradford put together its most complete game of the season while Tri-Village had its worst outing of the season on Thursday as the Railroaders run ruled the Patriots 15-3 in five innings of Cross County Conference baseball.
Bradford had a strong game at the plate and in the field. The Railroaders collected 17 hits on offense and only committed one error on defense.
“Our defense has actually improved a lot over the last year and last two years,” Bradford baseball coach Shane Snyder said. “I tell my guys if we can limit it to two or less errors and have double-digit hits we have a real good chance to win.”
Tri-Village, on the other hand, struggled all night. The Patriots had just five hits and committed five errors.
“The defense was about as bad as I’ve ever seen a Tri-Village Patriot team play. Not only the errors, we had a lot of mental mistakes out there as well, too,” Tri-Village baseball coach Jim Maples said. “I think our effort is there, but we’re on a stretch here of three or four games in a row where our defense is poor, and that’s about as kind as I can put it right now.”
Bradford got off to a strong start with two runs in the bottom half of the first inning. Tri-Village battled back to tie the game at 2-2 in the second inning and took a 3-2 lead in the top half of the third.
But then Bradford’s offense exploded for 12 runs in the bottom half of the third inning to take a commanding 14-3 lead.
“One thing we haven’t done all season is have one big inning or tie in a full game of baseball,” Snyder said. “It’s been a hit or miss, and we’ve been playing by the inning. Tonight we played a full game of complete baseball like I’d been hoping for for a while so finally it came together and the outcome was good.”
Bradford also added one run in the fourth inning to go on to win 15-3.
Mason Justice led Bradford offensively by going 3-for-3 with three runs and four RBI. Bryson Canan was 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, a triple, a RBI and three runs. Alex Swabb was 2-for-3 with a double, three stolen bases, two runs and two RBI. Walker Branson was 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, a stolen base and two RBI.
Bradford’s Bryant Byers was 2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and two runs. Wade Gerlach was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, two RBI and two runs. Parker Smith was 2-for-4 and scored two runs. Dillon Reck went 1-for-2 with a RBI and a run.
Tri-Village’s Christian Ricker was 1-for-3 with a triple and scored a run. Jackson Plush was 1-for-2 with a double and scored a run. Jared Buckley was 1-for-2 with two stolen bases and scored a run. Trey Frech was 1-for-2 with a RBI. Luke Wheeler went 1-for-2. Mason Sullenbarger and Jonny Wilson both drove in a run.
Fischer Spencer was the winning pitcher for Bradford as he pitched all five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits, no walks and four strikeouts.
Camren Munchel pitched the complete game for Tri-Village, allowing six earned runs and nine unearned runs on 17 hits, one walk and one strikeout.
“Camren didn’t have his best stuff; that’s for sure,” Maples said. “They were hitting the ball pretty decent against him, but this pitch count stuff does stuff to you, too. We’ve got a ballgame tomorrow. I’ve got two to three inexperienced pitchers left for tomorrow so Camren just had to take one for the team out there today. I hated to leave him in there when they were hitting him like they were today, but that’s what the pitch count does to you.”
Tri-Village fell to 10-5 overall and 3-5 in the CCC with Thursday’s loss.
“Probably if you asked me at the beginning of the year and said you’d be 10-5 at this point in the year, I would probably have taken that and been OK with that. But there is nobody, and I mean nobody, that we’ve played right now that I see as dominant,” Maples said. “We’ve lost five games now, five of our last seven, and there wasn’t one of those teams that we weren’t capable of beating and playing right with. Obviously today was our ugliest, but the last three have been pretty ugly.”
Bradford is now 8-9-1 overall and 4-4 in the CCC.
“Right now this is a pivotal point in the season,” Snyder said. “You’ve got to play tough these last two weeks going into the tournament and the tournament draw. Kind of have to forget about the first couple weeks of the season and really work hard every night and improve every day, especially this time of the season.”
By Kyle Shaner