PEASTER – After reeling off three straight wins, (10-5, 5-3) Glen Rose dropped a road game to Peaster, 4-3. It was the first game of the second half of the 11-3A schedule for the Tigers.
The Tigers scored in the third, fifth and nearly rallied to tie the game in the seventh when Camron Rush scored on a Layne McAnear single. The RBI came with two outs and a Devin Crawford groundout to first ended the threat.
“We gained a lot from this game, we just didn’t get the clutch hits when we needed them,” Glen Rose Head Coach James Evans said. “We had the bases loaded twice and didn’t get one of those clutch hits to score a couple runs."
"[Peaster] did a good job of manufacturing runs, but it was a good game and our kids battled through right to the end," Evans continued. "I told them that our season is far from over. We are going to learn from tonight’s game and get better.”
Yes, the Tigers lost Friday evening. That is an unfortunate reality.
But the negative stigma that followed losses to Brock and Hillsboro was nowhere to be found as the team boarded the bus.
Glen Rose played with intensity – from first pitch through Crawford’s groundout to first base to end the comeback efforts – which it was missing during the previous two district losses.
There will be no one who will blame the loss on lackadaisical efforts. Not after this one, at least. If Glen Rose can find the same kind of effort it showed in Peaster for the remainder of the season, then there will certainly be more wins than losses over the next month of baseball.
This year’s Tiger team is still looking for an identity. By now, it’s clear that the Tigers, who have 17 extra base hits this season, are not going to overpower an opponent with the bat.
Pitching and the ability to get on base have certainly been strengths for Evans’ ball club, but solid pitching without clutch or extra base hits to consistently drive home runs makes it awfully difficult to regularly outscore worthy opponents.
However, as the season wears on Glen Rose is beginning to display spurts of a potential offensive prowess.
After Drayton Williams raised his batting average back over .300 with two hits against Keene, there are now three Tigers – Williams (.308), Dylan Hammond (.381) and Tyler Torres (.432) – above the industry standard. Layne McAnear and Gus Stoner are a two-hit day or two away from a .300 batting average, as well.
Stoner has raised his average some 100 points since a 0-for-3 day against Hillsboro.
There is also a dire need for a vocal leader step forward. McAnear showed signs Friday of potentially burdening that load and a repeat performance in the vocal department Tuesday at home against No. 17 Brock could go a long way in solidifying his leadership role down the stretch run.
Although one loss does not drastically change the grand scheme of the 11-3A-playoff picture it does alter it a bit. Prior to opening district play, Evans said that a split with Peaster would be ideal – unless of course the Tigers won both. He got his split and the Tigers are sitting exactly where they need to be with six games to play.
“We are still in good shape as far as the playoffs go,” Evans said. “We are just going to have to win a couple of the next three games. “
Any combination of two wins over Brock, Grandview and Hillsboro should, along with wins over Millsap, Rio Vista and Keene, should all but guarantee the Tigers top-four finish in 11-3A.
For all intents and purposes, Crawford pitched well. After all, it was a complete game and easily categorized as a quality start.
But it was a labor-intensive outing.
Working at a much more deliberate pace than previous outings, Crawford struck out and walked eight Greyhounds during his six innings of work. The lefty also allowed three of the six Peaster hits to go for extra bases.
Two of the runs scored reached on walks. Two of the runs scored reached on doubles.
In the first inning, a walk came back to haunt Crawford, much like they always do, when the runner scored on a double to left-center field. A fly ball in left field that that Gage Costello lost off of the bat turned into a double, later scored with two outs and resulted in a 2-0 Peaster lead in the bottom of the third inning.
The Greyhounds scored again in the fourth inning. Matthew Grimes worked an 11-pitch walk – the 11th pitch was a slider that Crawford never got his hand on top of – and was followed by two more free passes.
Grimes scored the last Peaster run when on a Parker Grudt RBI single to right field. The throw home by Gus Stoner looked to be on line and on time, but was cutoff by Reece Nickell just behind the pitcher’s mound.
The fourth inning run was the only earned run charged to Crawford’s ledger and he has now allowed just nine earned runs in 35.2 innings of work for miniscule 2.28 ERA. The loss was his second of the season behind three wins and a save.
The eight walks were two more than he had previously allowed all season, while his season total for strikeouts (57) now sits at a few ticks over one-and-a-half per inning (1.6).
Glen Rose returns home Tuesday for a rematch against No. 17 Brock. The Eagles handily run-ruled the Tigers in the first meeting, 11-1, after reeling off all 11 runs in the third inning. District leading (13-7, 7-1) Brock is coming off of its first loss in 11-3A – a 4-3 nail bitter against (11-8-1, 6-2) Grandview. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.