NEW MADISON – Tri-Village baseball coach Jim Maples was disappointed with his team’s play against Newton on Tuesday but hopes the Patriots can move past the 9-2 loss and finish the season strong.
While Newton entered Tuesday’s Cross County Conference game ranked No. 2 in the state by the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association, Maples thought his team matched up well with the Indians.
“Disappointing,” Maples said. “Other than the Bradford game this year, this was the worst that we’ve looked. But one of the things that I tried to talk to the kids afterwards was if you looked talent-wise and ability I thought that we’re pretty evenly matched on what we had there against Newton, but their baseball-sense and knowledge of the game and preparedness was better than ours.”
Newton quickly took a lead on Tuesday when Noah Weaver drove in Charlie Walker and Nelson Clymer in the top half of the first inning.
Tri-Village was able to reduce its deficit to 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning. Christian Ricker led off with a double and scored on a RBI single by Jonny Wilson.
Newton added to its lead in the second inning, going up 3-1. Austin Evans reached on an error to begin the inning, went to second on a wild pitch and scored what turned out to be the winning run on a single by Ryan Mollette.
“The three runs that we gave up early were on walks, were on hit batters, were on two errors,” Maples said. “We were not in the game to start with. We came back and made it 3-2 after two innings and we had an opportunity to turn something around. I just didn’t think that we were right there at the start of the ballgame today, and there’s no excuse for that. You’re playing a 20-2 team, No. 2 ranked team in the state. To me those are the games you get fired up, pumped up to play, and I just thought we didn’t get off to the start that we needed to and then we didn’t play heads up ball later on in the game. We just got sloppy with what was going on, and they took advantage big time on that part.”
Tri-Village scored again in the second inning. Trey Frech drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a grounder by Cody Eyer and scored on a RBI single by Ricker.
However, that was the final time Tri-Village scored while Newton added two runs in the fourth inning, one in the fifth and three in the sixth.
“They’re a very good team,” Maples said. The (Treg) Jackson kid who pitched today is a very good pitcher. They don’t have 21 wins for no reason.”
Even though Tuesday’s performance was disappointing, Maples is hopeful that his team will be able to rebound.
“The last time we had that Bradford game we responded and came back and played good baseball after that,” Maples said. “We won four games in a row since that Bradford game and come off a good win over Bethel last night.
“We’re 15-6 on a team with two seniors. I think we’ve played very well this year. Sometimes you’re not going to have your best game.”
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.