Murphy’s Law seemed to be in effect for the majority of the game for the Van Horn baseball team.
Its pitchers had a hard time finding the strike zone and Grandview stole bases at will and took advantage of four wild pitches as the Bulldogs captured a 12-5 decision Friday at Roper Stadium.
The Bulldogs (3-10) stole eight bases, drew seven walks and were hit by pitches three times, giving them numerous opportunities to hit with runners in scoring position. They scored their runs on just nine hits.
“If you look at any statistic, free passes lead to runs,” Van Horn coach Jay Kolster said. “Advantage offense there. They had 10 free passes and you add their team speed, it definitely changes the game.”
In fact, the first three runs by Grandview were scored on a bases-loaded walk, a wild pitch and a hit batter in a first inning in which it sent the whole lineup to the plate while only collecting one hit.
A stolen base and a suicide squeeze bunt RBI from Micah Blankenship made it 4-0 in the third. A two-run double from Michael Frey and an RBI single from Javon Williams gave the Bulldogs a comfortable 7-0 edge in the fifth.
The road team made it 10-0 in the sixth following a bases-loaded walk from Frey and a two-run single from Blankenship.
Van Horn avoided losing by the mercy rule in the sixth when junior Brandon Borchert led off with a double down the left-field line off Bulldogs starter River Lee. Borchert scored on Lee’s throwing error to first on a Samila Sua grounder down the third-base line.
Other than that one miscue, Lee was sharp for the Bulldogs. He allowed just two hits and one walk and struck out 10 in six innings. The Van Horn hitters had a tough time catching up to his fastball the first time through the lineup as the hard-throwing right-hander had six punchouts the first time through the lineup.
“We just took too long to make an adjustment. He’s a polished pitcher,” Kolster said of Lee. “He came out first inning and showed all three pitches that he had and we weren’t aggressive going after the fastball early in the count. We just sat and took it and advantage pitcher at that point.
The 7-8-9 hitters for the Falcons (4-11) were 0-for-6 against Lee with six strikeouts.
“He pitched really, really well,” Grandview coach Mike Stringer said. “He worked ahead in the count and commanded the zone early. He located his fastball and was off-speed stuff kept them off-balance.”
Added Borchert: “He is a hard-throwing kid. He had a lot of good movement on his breaking ball. We really couldn’t get to him.”
After Grandview scored two runs in the top of the seventh, Van Horn scored four runs in the bottom half on a bases-loaded walk from Borchert, a two-run seeing-eye single by Sua and an RBI hit from Brayden Bandy.
Tanner Smith suffered the loss for the Falcons as he allowed three runs (two earned) on one hit and walked four in one inning. Borchert was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI for the Falcons.