The North Greenville University Crusaders met the Tusculum College Pioneers today for two ball games. The first game was a nail biter that ended 7-5 in favor of the Pioneers, and the second game was met with much anticipation by fans and players alike.
The Pioneers struck first when they scored a run by way of the small-ball: a hit batsman, a wild pitch, a passed ball, and a sac fly, in the 1st inning, put the Pioneers up 1-0. In the 2nd inning a Crusader error followed by a Pioneer single, an RBI single, and a two RBI double accounted for three runs, putting the Pioneers on top 4-0. The Pioneers struck again in the 4th and 5th innings, and capped things off with a homerun in the 6th to set the score at 9-0, which is how the game would end.
The Crusader offense was present, tallying 7 hits and 2 walks, but could not find a way to string together a rally. Throughout the game the Crusaders found multiple ways to get on base, getting two hits from Derek Fulmer, one from Justin Walters, Dylan Fulk laced a single off the foot of the pitcher, Markus Duckworth roped a triple to right, Daniel York got on base with an infield single, and lead-off man Randy Stegall got a base-hit as well, but tying together consecutive hits was the challenge for the Crusaders offense today.
Senior Grayson Smith took the mound for the Crusaders this afternoon. Smith went 4 innings allowing 6 runs, 3 earned runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, and 1 strikeout. Matthew Benjamin came in and pitched 2 innings, allowing 3 earned, on 5 hits, and Drew Provence made his mark with an impressive college debut outing of one inning pitched, 1 walk, 1 single, and 1 strike out.
Speaking of young faces on the Crusader diamond, Daniel York got his first colligate hit today, Tim Cummings got his first plate appearance of the year (and saw some time at 3rd base), and Rob Dobbins saw his first plate appearance of his college career. The Crusaders also showed their team’s depth as veterans Tyler Callicutt and John Porter saw some playing time, and looked good doing it! Coach Henson made note of the team’s depth advantage, “It’s one of our strengths. We can use anybody at anytime,” he remarked.
Times may be trying for the Crusader baseball family, but they have plenty of potential, and Coach Henson sees that potential in every one of his players. “We are going to stay focused, correct mistakes, and move forward. Execution is key to moving forward. We know what to do; we just need to do it. We still believe in our guys and they believe in themselves.” “We should have won game one, and game two was simply mental mistakes. We strung together some hits, but just couldn’t get the clutch hit. Be we are proud of our guys and we are going to keep working hard.”
As the sun set on Ashmore field for the evening, the sun is surely not setting on the Crusader squad. With the belief in the team that both the coaches and players posses, and the hard work they do every day, the sun will soon be rising for the Crusader baseball team.
Crusader Player of the Game - Markus Duckworth. Batting: 1-2, 3B, BB. Feilding: Gunned a runner down at home plate from left field.