By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
MIDDLETOWN, Ind. —
When a team commits eight errors in a game, the uphill battle is mighty steep. That climb is a little easier when the opponent puts a six in the “E” column.
The Lapel Bulldogs and Shenandoah Raiders locked up in a varsity baseball battle that is sure to be omitted from any how-to videos as they combined for 14 errors and five wild pitches while collecting 16 hits Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs prevailed, 11-7. With the win, Lapel has back-to-back wins for just the second time this season.
Down 7-5 at the start of fifth inning, Lapel opened with two singles. Noah Clark followed with a drive to deep-right center field that was off the glove of Tyler Crane, allowing two runs to score and Clark to end up on third, tying the score at seven. At this point, Shenandoah had committed three of its six errors
“We are having trouble finding out who we are,” Shenandoah coach Jack Lewis said. “We are not getting enough consistent play. We have not earned the right to come out and play like that.”
Inconsistent and sloppy play continued for the Raiders. Still in the fifth inning, with runners on second and third — because of a pair of errors by Jacob Fish — sophomore Brady Cherry delivered the game-winning blow when he drove the ball deep to the wall in right center. Crane gave chase but ran out of ground as he collided with the fence.
Cherry came around to score while Crane lay on the ground, and the Bulldogs led 10-7.
“I don’t think there are any bones broken,” Lewis said of Crane’s injury. “It is just going to be a healing process from a bruise on the right knee cap.”
The Bulldogs’ defense suffered early, which led to all seven of Shenandoah’s runs. Lapel committed seven errors and four wild pitches in the first three innings.
Lapel coach Brad Lantz juggled the lineup a little bit to try and give some players a rest as the Bulldogs prepare to enter a stretch of conference games.
“There are no excuses,” Lantz said. “We expect our guys to make plays.”
Once the fourth inning hit, Lantz began to put his team back together. His adjustments resulted in just one error over the final four innings.
“The chemistry did not work out for us,” Lantz said. “We got some guys back in the right positions ... and it seemed to work out.”
Youth is on the side of the Raiders as they started five sophomores and a freshman Wednesday. Lantz said they might be young, but they are not inexperienced.
“They are young in age, but four of the sophomores played last year,” Lantz said. “So, they are younger, but I think they have a lot of game experience.”
Shenandoah freshman Dylan Conk earned his first hit as a varsity play with an RBI single up the middle in first. He later came around to score the fifth of five runs the Raiders put on the board that inning and took a 6-3 lead.
“We told the boys that we were proud of how they bounced back,” Lantz said. “It is real easy to be down after you make all those errors early. Once we got it tied, we kept our foot on the pedal.”