• Fielding miscues trip Falcons

  • The Van Horn baseball team has taken an emotional pounding the last two days.

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  • The Van Horn baseball team has taken an emotional pounding the last two days.
    First came Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to Summit Christian Academy – a game the Falcons let slip away after rallying for two runs in the top of the seventh to take a brief 6-5 lead.
    Then on Thursday, Van Horn mounted a seventh-inning comeback, cutting Heritage Christian Academy’s six-run lead to two and brought the tying run to the plate before falling 12-10 at R.J. Roper Stadium for a second Crossroads Conference defeat in as many days.
    There’s little doubt about the source of Van Horn’s early-season woes. The Falcons (0-6, 0-2) pounded 13 hits Thursday, but eight errors hindered whatever progress they made at the plate.
    “There was a lot of good hitting,” Van Horn coach Tim Wilson said. “We just weren’t making plays again on defense. We’re pretty young and they keep finding the right people to hit it to. I don’t know if it’s the baseball gods working like that or what, but we’re just not making plays.”
    The Falcons have only practiced on a dirt infield three or four times this season, so Wilson said miscues on hard-hit grounders were somewhat excusable. What drew his ire was the three misplays made in the outfield.
    “We have no excuse for dropping fly balls or misplaying fly balls,” Wilson said. “... I don’t like the errors on dirt, but I can take that. But on a fly ball, that’s inexcusable.”
    Although the Falcons eventually faced a deficit, they took a 4-0 lead on their first turn at bat. Michael Payne smacked an RBI double, Robert Bluett brought in a run with a sacrifice fly, Payne scored on a fielder’s choice and Cody Storey drew a walk with the bases loaded.
    The Chargers produced a five-run rally in the second, though, which was aided by a pair of Falcon errors. They pushed their lead to 6-4 in the third and it later swelled to 11-5 in the sixth as Payne and Bluett struggled to gain any traction on the mound.
    Junior Levi Kelsey swatted a solo home run in the sixth to pull Van Horn within 11-6, but Heritage tacked on an insurance run in the seventh before the Falcons’ final surge.
    Van Horn started its half of the seventh with four straight singles and trimmed the deficit to 12-7 with Payne’s base hit.
    Then with two outs, Bluett blasted a three-run shot over the center-field fence to make it 12-10.
    “We were aggressive,” said Bluett, who finished 2-for-3, reached four times and drove in four runs. “That’s probably the most aggressive we’ve been batting.”
    Nathan Ingold followed with a two-out single before Lewis Gray popped out to end the game.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We just need to work on defense,” said Kelsey, who went 1-for-3, reached twice and scored. “We can hit the ball, it’s just defense. We’ve just got to let it go and turn it right back around.”
    Myles Gibson ended 3-for-3, drew a walk and tallied three runs for the Falcons while Payne posted a 2-for-3 effort to go with two runs and RBIs and a stolen base. Ingold sprayed three singles and drove in a run and Krantz finished 2-for-4 with a run scored.
    “We’re battling through some stuff here, but there’s a master plan in place,” Wilson said. “I know that sounds funny with the record we have, but we’ve just got to keep working hard and I think we’ll be fine at the end of the season.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC

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