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The Carthage Press
  • Bulldogs play small ball in win against Carthage

  • A week ago Carthage’s baseball team traveled to Carl Junction and jumped out to a 6-0 lead before a flurry of defensive blunders cost the Tigers in a 7-6 loss to the Bulldogs.The teams matched up again Tuesday night on the second day of the Bill O’Dell Tournament and this time it was Carl Junction taking a...
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  • A week ago Carthage’s baseball team traveled to Carl Junction and jumped out to a 6-0 lead before a flurry of defensive blunders cost the Tigers in a 7-6 loss to the Bulldogs.
    The teams matched up again Tuesday night on the second day of the Bill O’Dell Tournament and this time it was Carl Junction taking an early lead; and just like last week the Bulldogs capitalized on Carthage mistakes to beat the Tigers 5-2.
    The loss drops Carthage to 7-5 on the season.
    “They just beat us tonight,” head coach Mike Godfrey said. “They executed every opportunity they had. Their pitcher did a good job throwing strikes. He worked ahead of hitters and they made plays. Every time, even if it was a little mistake we might make, they capitalized on it whether it be bobbling the ball or dropping the pop up on the infield. Every little mistake got magnified because they did a good job executing.”
    Carl Junction, playing as the home team, did most of its damage in the bottom of the second. The Bulldogs scored a run in the first inning, but tallied four more in the second against Carthage starter Gavin Huke by playing small ball.
    A Carthage error on a bunt put a runner at second base to lead off the inning, and a sacrifice bunt moved him over to third before a bunt single made it a 2-0 game. A single to shortstop put two runners on, and a bloop single just past shortstop scored another run. A double steal and infield single to third base made it 4-0, and the Bulldogs had two runners in scoring position with two outs following a groundout. They would score one of them on a wild pitch before Carthage got out of the inning down 5-0.
    The Tigers finally got on the scoreboard in the third. Jared Heman stretched a single into a double to lead off before two-straight batters flied out, but Blaine Diggs singled to the gap in right field to make it a four-run game.
    Carl Junction almost did more damage in the bottom of the third in much the same manner it did an inning earlier. The leadoff hitter reached on an error, a dropped pop up on the infield, and the Bulldogs then drew a walk and tried to move the runners over on yet another bunt. This time Carthage got the force out at third, but another bunt single loaded the bases. Sawyer Shepherd fielded a grounder at third and threw home for another force out, and Huke got a bases-loaded strikeout to end the inning.
    Carthage scratched another run across in the top of the fifth. Heman led off with a walk, then Mason Goade reached on a nice bunt single. A double play left Goade on second with two outs and Diggs at the plate, who was intentionally walked. Kyle Lee then reached on a bunt single down the third base line, and a wild throw to first sent Lee to second base and scored Goade to make it 5-2.
    Page 2 of 2 - There were more opportunities for the Tigers, but they didn’t take advantage. Mitch Wagner led off the sixth with a single but the next two batters were retired on a strikeout and fly out. Goade singled to shallow right field, but Wagner was thrown out at third base.
    Lee drew a two-out walk in the seventh, then Kendall Young beat out a single, but Carthage couldn’t score. There were opportunities earlier in the game, too.
    Young walked to lead off the second and advanced to second base before a fly out, then Young went to third but the inning ended with two strikeouts. Shepherd reached on an error with one out in the fourth, then stole second but the Tigers couldn’t score him.
    “We didn’t hit with runners in scoring position and that’s really where we didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Godfrey said. “Gavin did a good job on the mound. He settled in and really threw well after that second inning but we didn’t give ourselves a chance offensively.”
    Huke was better than the numbers indicate. Carl Junction rarely made solid contact with his pitches, instead relying on a bevy of weak infield hits and bunts. He pitched the whole game, allowing five runs, but just one was earned. He allowed seven hits and walked two while striking out four.
    “That’s frustrating,” Godfrey said of the second inning. “You keep telling the kid you’re doing a good job and they’re putting runs on the board.”
    Heman was 1-3 with a walk, Goade was 3-4 with a run, Diggs went 1-2 with an RBI, Lee was 1-3 with a walk and Young went 1-2 with a walk.
    Carthage’s junior varsity team lost 14-0 to Monett in an earlier game Tuesday. The tournament continues on Thursday with Seneca and Carl Junction playing at 2 p.m., Nevada and Monett at 4:30 p.m. and Webb City taking on Carthage’s JV squad at 7 p.m. Carthage’s varsity team will take on Mt. Vernon at 2 p.m. Friday in tournament play.

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