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Late miscues cost Prairie at Delphi in 3-2 defeat

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BACK IN GAME: Clinton Prairie’s Brady Erickson gets congratulated going into the dugout after scoring the tying run after a two-run double by Jared Ray in the seventh inning on Wednesday at Delphi. The Oracles scored in the bottom half of the inning for a 3-2 win.
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IN A PICKLE: Clinton Prairie’s Luke Longenecker tries to avoid the Delphi catcher after getting caught in a rundown after a pickoff attempt at third in the seventh inning.
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STRONG START: Clinton Prairie senior Mason McGraw kept the Gophers in the game at Delphi on Wednesday, going five innings and allowing two runs (one earned).
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SAFE OR OUT?: Gopher fans felt Jacob Perkins got under the tag on this pick-off attempt at second in the top of the fourth inning. The umpire ruled that Delphi’s Jaden Long got the tag down in time. Perkins went 1-2 with a steal in the game.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Clinton Prairie spent all game trying to get back two early runs scored by host Delphi in baseball on Wednesday before Jared Ray finally tied it with a two-run double with two outs in the seventh.

However, a throwing error in the bottom half of the inning gave the Oracles the 3-2 win pretty quickly afterward. Early and late mistakes in the field and on the base paths weren’t Gophers head coach Matt Scott’s main concern, but rather the lack of offense after Prairie had lit up the scoreboard for several games before Wednesday.

“The main thing is you just have to put up more than two runs,” he said. “In a high school baseball game, I feel like if we keep the other team under five runs we should win every game that we play and today we kept them at three. Today, we just didn’t do enough to get that.”

Scott believed that he got enough from his pitchers, with starter Mason McGraw going five innings and giving up a run in the first inning and an unearned run in the second. He gave up only three hits along with three walks and a strikeout for his outing.

“I felt that Mason threw really, really well,” Scott said. “We just didn’t have good approaches at the plate early and it kind of came back to bite us there at the end.”

It looked like Prairie center fielder Jared Ray might be the hero both in the field and at the plate for the Gophers, as he made a nice sliding catch coming in on a ball to end the fifth inning and save a run. In Prairie’s last at bat with two outs and runners on first and second, Ray drove a ball to the left center wall, tying the game up at 2.

“Jared is not only a fast kid but he has played the outfield quite a bit,” Scott said. “He’s a young kid, only a sophomore, and we trust him to play out there. He did save us a run there and he hit a ball really, really hard in the left center field gap that scored two runs for us.

“Unfortunately, we got picked off at third base so it should have been three, but you know you live and you learn.”

Prairie’s Luke Longenecker was hit by a pitch to start the seventh inning. Ted Hamilton followed with a grounder to short, with an overthow on the play at first moving Longenecker to third and Hamilton to second. Delphi starting pitcher Jordan Roth caught Longenecker at third with a pick-off throw, causing a rundown and the first out of the inning.

“We just didn’t read the pick-off very well and we got in a pickle and thrown out,” Scott said. “We play 12 guys and six sophomores. Even though the sophomores have played quite a bit, a lot of them haven’t played up to this level. So, we’re learning and we’ll get there. We’ll be alright.”

Roth followed with a walk to Brady Erickson, causing Delphi to turn to reliever Jayden McClain. McClain coaxed Bailey Good to pop out to short for two outs, with Ray emptying the bases on his long double as the next batter.

The game ended abruptly in Delphi’s half of the inning. Kaleb Peters, pitching his second inning in relief, got Aaron Webb to pop out to first before Seth Waters was hit by a pitch and stole second to get in scoring position. Evan Fritz followed with a grounder to short, with Prairie unable to corral a low throw at first allowing Waters to score on the play and end the game.

Scott didn’t blame the late error and pick off for the loss, but the two runs scored after posting 62 in the Gophers’ first five games.

“We brought in a new approach this year and we’re learning,” he said. “We just didn’t make any adjustments today.

“In the Frankfort game, we didn’t make a lot of adjustments and still put up six runs (in the Gophers’ only other loss of the season), but in the Southmont game and over the weekend when we played Tri-County we made quite a few adjustments in game and things like that depending on pitches.

“Today, it just wasn’t our day,” Scott noted. “We started out slow and it seems to be when the weather’s cold we start out slow and when the weather’s warm we tend to play warm.”

Ray (1-2), Erickson (1-1 with two walks) and Jacob Perkins (1-2 with a walk) posted the only hits for the Gophers. Peters took the loss despite giving up only an unearned run and allowing one hit in 1 1/3 innings.

Clinton Prairie (4-2) was to play at Cardinal Ritter on Thursday, with their next games this Saturday at a tourney hosted by Lebanon.

 

At Delphi

Oracles 3, GOPHERS 2

Clinton Prairie 000 000 2 — 2 3 2

Delphi 110 000 1 — 3 4 1

Clinton Prairie ab r h bi

Z. Skinner 3 0 0 0

K. Peters 4 0 0 0

J. Perkins 2 0 1 0

M. McGraw 3 0 0 0

A. Gibson 2 0 0 0

T. Hamilton 3 1 0 0

B. Erickson 1 1 1 0

B. Good 2 0 0 0

J. Ray 2 0 1 2

Totals 22 2 3 2

Delphi ab r h bi

Totals 23 3 4 0

Pitching ip h r er bb so

Clinton Prairie

M. McGraw 5 3 2 1 3 1

K. Peters(L) 1.1 1 1 0 0 0

Delphi

J. Roth 6.1 2 2 0 4 4

J. McClain(W) .2 1 0 0 1 0