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Spartans knocked out of EIAC race with loss to Greensburg

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Connersville’s Gavin Lynch delivers a pitch against Greensburg in a game between the two Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference teams, Monday night at CHS field. One of four Spartan pitchers in the game, Lynch pitched 1.2 innings of relief for starter Damon Huffman.
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Connersville senior Bryce Cloydfouls off a pitch against Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference foe Greensburg on Monday night. Cloyd and the Spartans were limited to four hits in an 11-1 loss to the Pirates.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

The tumblers all clicked at the Connersville High School baseball field on Monday night, as CHS played host to Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference foe Greensburg for senior night.

Unfortunately, nearly every one of those tumblers tilted in the Pirates’ direction.

Facing one of Greensburg’s top pitchers, the Spartans made matters worse in several ways, winding up on the losing end of an 11-1 final score.

“We walked eight, hit several batters, and finished with five errors,” Connersville coach Michael Thompson summed up, afterward. “When those kinds of things happen, the game can snowball a little, and I think that’s what happened tonight.”

Connersville (10-11, 6-7 EIAC) was guilty of two of the errors in the first inning, allowing the Pirates to plate a pair of runs.

The Spartans answered, however, with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame to cut the GHS lead in half.

“We really tip our hats to their pitcher (Cade) Reynolds,” Thompson said of the Greensburg starter. “I think by far he’s the best pitcher we have faced all year. He mixed up his pitches really well, located his fast ball well all game, and threw as hard as anyone we have faced so far. 

“In spite of that, I thought we hit him early. Particularly in the first inning, we put the bat on the ball.”

Scoring in the inning was lead-off batter Cody Friend, the CHS sophomore chased home on a Colton Massey single. 

CHS was unable to follow that with similar success in the ensuing innings, however.

“Over the next three innings, we went three up, three down,” Thompson said.

Greensburg wasn’t productive through the second and third, either, coming up empty on the scoreboard. The Pirates did load the bases with nobody out in the third, but a strikeout and two pop-ups ended the threat.

“Damon (Huffman) did a great job bearing down at that point, keeping them off the scoreboard,” Thompson said of his starter.

In the fourth, the visitors finally did push more runners across, three of them in fact, to extend the lead to 5-1.

In the sixth, Greensburg blew the game open with five runs, putting the game on the precipice of being called early, due to the run-rule.

“Right now, we’re having that one bad inning,” Thompson said. “We just need to get over that hump and gain the confidence that we can get through some of the things that happen during those innings.”

The Spartans wound up with four hits in the game, Max Crank, Damien Bowling and Landon Cerqua joining Massey on that list.

On the mound, Huffman wound up taking the loss. A total of four hurlers were handed the ball for the Spartans.

“Our pitchers, the last three or four games, have struggled working ahead in the count,” Thompson said. “We find ourselves behind 2-0 a lot, and then we were forced to serve up some fast balls. It prevented us from mixing up our pitches.”

In spite of that, the first-year coach for the Spartans said that over all, he was pleased with the effort from his hurlers.

“Gavin (Lynch) came in and after he got going, threw pretty well in his second inning,” he said. “Both Colton (Massey) and Maxwell (Crank) did a nice job during their time in there, as well.”

The game was dedicated to five seniors on the team — Bryce Cloyd, Dylan Logan, Brett Gray, Massey, and Crank.

“As a group, this is as solid a senior group than any I have had in all of my coaching,” Thompson said. “These five are such great kids. They have bought in from Day 1 when I came in here as a new coach. They have led by example, but have also been vocal when they needed to, getting the other kids to do the right thing. 

“I have a lot of respect for this group of seniors.”

The loss was a third-straight (all EIAC defeats) for the Spartans, eliminating them from the conference race.

“Two weeks ago, we were competing for first place in the conference, and I thought that we were good enough to win our sectional,” Thompson said. “The way we’re playing right now, however, tells me we are not ready for either of those things. 

“It just really depends on how the kids want to come out of this. The kids need to decide what they want, and then come out and start heading in that direction.” 

Connersville has four games remaining on its regular-season schedule, before facing Anderson in the opening round of the sectional on May 23. Next game for the Spartans is tonight at Mt. Vernon (Fortville).

 

PIRATES 11, SPARTANS 1

(at Connersville High School)

Greensburg 200 305 1 — 11 6 1

Connersville 100 000 0 — 1 4 5

WP: Cade Reynolds

LP: Damon Huffman

Greensburg (7-12, 5-8 EIAC) — Logan Smith 0-4, Cam Adams 0-1, David Blankman 0-3, Toby Brogan 2-2, Cade Reynolds 2-5, Cole Nobbe 1-5, Aaron Moeller 1-4, Sam Bower 0-4, Eric Million 0-2, Jacob Dance 0-0, Corbin Mathews 0-0. TOTALS 6-30 (.200).

Connersville (10-11, 6-7 EIAC) — Cody Friend 0-2, Dylan Logan 0-2, Colton Massey 1-3, Max Crank 1-3, Brett Gray 0-3, Damien Bowling 1-3, Gabe Morris 0-2, Trevor Young 0-1, Landon Cerqua 1-1, Bryce Cloyd 0-2, Brayson McQueen 0-0, Damon Huffman 0-0, Gavin Lynch 0-0. TOTALS 4-22 (.182).

2B — Greensburg 3 (Reynolds, Moeller, Brogan). RBI — Greensburg 9 (Reynolds 4, Moeller 2, Blankman, Brogan, Nobbe), Connersville 1 (Massey). Runs — Greensburg 11 (Adams 3, Brogan 2, Smith, Blankman, Reynolds, Nobbe, Million, Dance), Connersville 1 (Friend). Stolen base — Greensburg 3 (Bower, Brogan, Adams). Caught stealing — Connersville 1 (Bowling). Picked off — Connersville 1 (McQueen). Sacrifice — Connersville 1 (Logan). Sacrifice fly — Greensburg 1 (Blankman). Hit by pitch — Greensburg 3 (Adams 2, Million). Base on balls — Greensburg 8 (Brogan 3, Adams 2, Smith, Blankman, Million), Connersville 2 (Friend, Cerqua). Strike outs — Greensburg 1 (Reynolds), Connersville 9 (Morris 2, Friend, Logan, Massey, Crank, Bowling, Young, Cloyd). Errors — Greensburg 1 (Adams), Connersville 5 (Crank, Friend, Gray, Logan, Morris). Left on base — Greensburg 10, Connersville 3.