MA baseball ends run at Edgewood

Published 9:47 pm Friday, May 1, 2009

ELMORE — Marengo Academy saw its bid for a second straight state title fall short Thursday as it fell to No. 1 ranked Edgewood 4-0 in the rubber game of the teams’ semi-final round playoff series.

“We’ve had max effort all year, especially with our back up against a wall,” Marengo Academy head coach Jonathan Lindsey said of his squad’s work in the series.

The Longhorns committed a slew of mental mistakes in the first inning that facilitated a four-run Edgewood first inning.

“They were pressing hard. They were pressing real hard,” Lindsey said of his players during that opening frame. “There were a lot of nerves involved. Once we got through that first inning, we settled in.”

After the four-run first, Marengo’s defense helped support the efforts of starting pitcher Matt Wallace. The sophomore tossed the full seven innings for the Longhorns, striking out two and allowing only one earned run on the day.

“The ball didn’t roll his way the first inning, but he was able to settle in and pitch a very good game,” Lindsey said of the hurler who projects to be the team’s No. 1 starting pitcher in 2010. “Matt pitched good enough to win the ball game. He saw what it takes to beat a very good ball team.”

The Longhorns struggled at the plate all afternoon, failing to get the leadoff batter on in every inning but the sixth. The first offensive threat the team posed came in the second inning when Clayton Crocker and Jesse Morgan stroked back-to-back two-out singles. The rally amount to nothing and the Longhorns remained hitless again until the fourth inning when Wallace came up with a single.

Marengo’s best opportunity came in the sixth inning when Trevor Johnson led the inning off with a single before Wood Collins absorbed an errant pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs in the inning.

Edgewood starter Bishop Harris quickly wriggled off the hook, inducing a come-backer that he quickly turned into a 1-6-3 double play.

“He had a great day. He had a great day,” Lindsey said of Harris. “(Wednesday) we touched him up a little bit in one inning. I thought we’d be able to do more with six, but it just didn’t happen.”

Harris, who struggled in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game one, scattered four hits and struck out seven over six innings of work Thursday before Cody Lee retired the side in the seventh to close the game.

The loss came on the heels of a Wednesday night double-header in which the Longhorns took game one 9-8 and lost game two 14-5.

In the first game of the series, MA scored four runs in the first inning and five in the third to take a 9-0 lead before watching the Wildcats score eight in reach the cusp of tying the game. Michael Martin slammed the door in the seventh inning to preserve win for Chris Whitaker.

Whitaker went 2-for-5 in the game with a double, a run score and a stolen base. Johnson went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Collins went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Crocker went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and two runs scored. Wallace went 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and a run scored. Morgan went 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and three RBIs. Kyle Schroeder walked twice and scored once while Beau Digmon went 1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.

In the second game of the series, Edgewood scored in each of its six innings at the plate, doing the bulk of its damage during a seven-run fourth inning.

Marengo answered with two runs in the third, one in the fifth and two in the sixth.

Thursday’s loss marks the final game for MA’s Class of 2009, a group Lindsey credits with advancing the baseball program.

“I told them in our post-game meeting that they’ve really set the bar high at Marengo Academy,” Lindsey said of the group.