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Examiner
  • Truman's conference title hopes end with second straight loss to Park Hill

  • Improbably, after a 3-6 start, the Truman baseball team entered this week with a chance to win the Suburban Middle Six Conference after rattling off six consecutive victories.

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  • Improbably, after a 3-6 start, the Truman baseball team entered this week with a chance to win the Suburban Middle Six Conference after rattling off six consecutive victories.
    Those title hopes officially ended with Thursday’s 10-2 loss to Park Hill, which clinched the conference outright, at Truman High School.
    The Patriots’ chances took a critical blow Wednesday with a demoralizing 1-0 loss to Park Hill, but they could have still snagged a share of the championship by topping the Trojans on Wednesday and then winning their two remaining games against St. Joseph Central (those games will not likely be played since the conference race has been determined).
    Truman (9-8, 4-4 conference) fell behind 1-0 in the first inning Wednesday, but took a 2-1 lead in the second as Stuart Lauber and Nathan Davis scored on a Park Hill error. The Trojans seized control by plating five unearned runs in a disastrous fourth inning for the Pats.
    “This was probably one of the worst games we’ve played in the last few weeks,” said Truman third baseman Tom Ruddy, who stroked a double and drew a walk. “We didn’t play great defensively, we had a few opportunities early and didn’t take advantage – against a good team like that, you just can’t do that.”
    The Pats also failed to cash in on a couple early scoring chances by going 0-for-7 with runners on base in the first three innings and stranding four runners. Park Hill starter Zach Maskill then retired six straight on 16 pitches in the fourth and fifth frames before Truman stranded the bases loaded in the sixth. The Pats finished 0-for-13 with runners on – a big contrast to how they played during their winning streak.
    “When you get runners in scoring position, you have to do your job and get them in,” said Ross Paschall, who reached three times and ripped a single. “When it doesn’t happen, it just kind of takes a toll on your team.”
    The Trojans (14-6, 8-2) broke the game open in the fifth when Matt Lund swatted a three-run home run off Tanner Stone, who relieved Truman starter Cory Pleacher in the fifth, and added another run on a fielder’s choice in the sixth.
    Despite the previous two days’ disappointment, Truman coach John Eglich said he’s still confident about the direction his team is trending going into Saturday’s first-round Class 5 District 14 game against Raytown South.
    “We’re in a much better spot than we were at 3-6,” said Eglich, whose squad will meet Blue Springs South on Monday if it can get past the Cardinals. “And for the most part, we’re playing much better. With (J.T.) Hayes and Ruddy pitching, we’re a tough out in districts, but you know district is one and done. So you face a good pitcher or make a couple errors and they’re going to lead to unearned runs and we’re going to lose. We’ve got to tighten things up and be ready to go starting Saturday.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     
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