NEW MADISON – In a game that lasted 11 innings, it was the Mississinawa Valley Blackhawks who finally edged out the Tri-Village Patriots 8-7.
It was a back-and-forth game with the Patriots having to play catchup. They were able to catch up every inning except the last one.
The Patriots tried to have a two-out rally in the bottom of the 11th inning when they fell behind. They got one run when Jared Buckley hit a triple and was able to score on a single. But the next batter hit a deep drive into left field that was caught to end the rally.
Both teams shot a hole in their pitching. With the early cancellations, teams are now playing games back-to-back to get them all in before the end of the season. This is stressing bullpens already and an 11-inning game is now sending both teams into the weekend with depleted bullpens. Even the winning team might have a pyrrhic victory as it may run out of pitching before the end of the week.
Tri-Village lead early in the game, and it was Mississinawa Valley that was playing catch up. The Patriots lead 3-1 in the first inning and 4-3 in the fifth.
Buckley had a nice play in the fourth to stop the Blackhawks when he caught a fly ball on a dead run to strand runners on base. If it had fallen, two – maybe three – more runs would have scored.
Catcher Christian Ricker also made a nice play in the fifth when he caught a Blackhawk runner napping and threw him out at third base.
It was tied 6-6 in the 10th inning. In their half of the 10th the Blackhawks’ Blake Scholl and Matt Slob scored. The Patriots could only answer with one run, and the marathon was finally over.
“I like the way we battled offensively tonight,” Tri-Village baseball coach Jim Maples said. “But on defense a lot of their runs were scored on misplays. It was a very poor played defensive ballgame. I am disappointed on that aspect of the game. It should not have gone into extra innings. If we make the routine plays out there that game is over. We had to use extra pitching out there that we did not have to use, and we still did not come out of it with a win. We made some big plays, some big hits, but if you don’t play defense that’s all wasted.”
“I am glad we got the W,” Mississinawa Valley coach Max Guillozet said. “We started out strong, 7-1. But these last three games we have been in funk. It’s frustrating. We aren’t playing like the baseball team we were at the beginning of the year. We have to decide if we really want to win. I think we just need to get back to the basics and just play baseball.
“Now tonight, I was pleased with our defense. As it was, I had to start (Ethan) Dirksen. This was his second start all year because we were short pitchers. Early in the year you had rainouts and snowouts, and now we are all trying to get our games in at the end of the season. We have a short bench so that just makes it really tough on us. Fatigue is really getting to be a factor. We have four games these next three days. So they really need a rest. But next up is (National) Trail; they are leading the league. We need to be strong against them.”