By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports
Sometimes it?s good to have a bad game so that it is out of the way, flushed through one?s system.
Washington High School gave Central Lee numerous free bases, committed fielding errors and throwing errors and lost a nonconference game Wednesday at Dick Sojka Memorial Field in Washington, 10-6.
It was a close game throughout but the visitors put four runs on the board in the seventh inning for the difference.
?I don?t want to focus too much on the negative,? Washington head coach Nathan Miller said. ?We did some good things. We kept battling back.?
The Demons seemed to answer Central Lee?s scores every time but the final inning.
The Hawks scored two in the first, but Wilx Witthoft tied the game for the Demons with a two-run single.
The visitors scored three in the third inning, but Brady Knutson and Jacob Hall each singled in a run in the bottom of the third to get Washington within 5-4.
?I really liked the guys? approaches at the plate,? Miller said.
The Demons tied it at 5-5 when Erik Murphy led off the fourth inning with a double, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Kiowa Keith?s suicide squeeze bunt.
?He put down a great bunt,? Miller said.
A Hawks? score in the sixth was matched in the bottom of the inning when Brant Stout drew a lead-off walk, stole second, went to third on Cade Hennigan?s single and scored on a wild pitch to tie it at 6-6.
?Of those six runs, three were from when we put them on and sloppy play on defense,? Miller said.
The seventh started with a Hawk reaching on an error, then a hit batter put two on. The Demons got the lead runner for the first out, but a single loaded the bases and a run-scoring walk chased Murphy from the mound.
He had relieved starting pitcher Ben Loy at the beginning of the fourth inning and faced just four batters in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Loy gave up two hits and four walks. Only one of his five runs allowed was earned.
Murphy gave up four hits, two walks with a strikeout until the fateful seventh inning.
?I thought Erik Murphy came in and pitched very well,? Miller said. ?He did a fantastic job.
Kiowa Keith took the mound with the bases loaded and Central Lee scored on the first pitch with their own suicide squeeze, then got another run in with another bunt.
?Give them credit, they won the game, but I feel like we sort of gave it away,? Miller said.
Washington went down in order in the seventh.
?It comes down to those free bases with no outs,? Miller said. ?There were two things that affected us -- not throwing strikes and not fielding the ball.?
In five of the seven innings, the first Hawk batter reached base. In four of those five, the first two batters reached. In the seventh, the first five batters reached. The Demons comitted six errors in the game.
?We kept coming back, so our resiliency was there, but our execution was not,? Miller said. ?we just couldn?t quite get over that hump. We need to take some strides forward if we want to accomplish the things we want to. We have to shore up some things.?
Mount Pleasant comes to town today. Both teams have a 9-3 record in the Southeast Conference and split their earlier doubleheader at Mount Pleasant. League leader Fairfield is 10-2.
?In the grand scheme of things, this game won?t determine anything about what we have to do against Mount Pleasant, other than learning from it,? Miller said. ?We have to have the mentality to attack and we will get there.?
The Demons are 16-7 overall. Central Lee is 14-6.