By Jacob Kisamore
Special to The Alamance News
The Southern Alamance Patriots were unable to keep up with the Asheboro Blue Comets in an 8-5 loss Friday night. The result was a split with Asheboro; Southern won earlier in the week on the road at Asheboro 10-9.
The Patriots got off to a quick start at home Friday night, scoring five runs in the first two innings, but were unable to keep up that pace as the game wore on.
Going into the top of the third inning, Southern led 5-2. By the end of the inning, they trailed 6-5 and would never hold the lead again. The Blue Comets brought nine batters to the plate and produced four runs, thanks to RBI singles from junior Caleb Walker, sophomore Josh Meadows, and junior Alex Martinez.
“We did a great job early on. We were laying back and were hitting line drives, and then things just changed.” – Southern High School baseball coach Jason Smith
Sophomore Tanner Marsh entered to pitch for Blue Comets in the second inning, relieving starter Avery Jones. While Marsh allowed two runs in the second inning, Patriots coach Jason Smith believed his entrance was the game’s turning point, saying his players struggled to hit Marsh’s curveball.
“We did a great job early on. We were laying back and were hitting line drives, and then things just changed,” Smith said. “They brought Marsh into the game and he was throwing his curve really well. We did not a good job with that.”
Still down 6-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Patriots had a chance to tie or retake the lead with the bases loaded. However, Marsh thwarted the rally with a strikeout and a pop out to first base.
Asheboro stretched its advantage in the top of the sixth, tacking on a run thanks to a throwing error by Southern and another off a Davis Gore single.
The Patriots stranded nine runners on base, made three throwing errors, and had six wild pitches that advanced runners. Smith said the Patriots made far too many sloppy mistakes that allowed Asheboro to take control of the game.
“We can’t have baserunning mistakes. They really killed us,” Smith said. “You got to make them make the plays. You got to make them earn it, and we didn’t make them earn it either way.”
“Every baseball game is different because it’s about who’s on the mound. That’s always going to give you a different feel.” – Southern High School baseball coach Jason Smith
The Patriots and Blue Comets had met earlier in the week, on Wednesday, in Asheboro, a game Southern won 10-9. Smith said even though the game was just two days prior, the team was unable to learn much from the matchup because the pitchers were not the same as in Friday’s contest.
“Every baseball game is different because it’s about who’s on the mound,” Smith said. “That’s always going to give you a different feel.”
With the loss, Southern fell to 2-2 on the season, with splits against the Blue Comets and Southwestern Randolph, two conference opponents. Smith thinks his team could easily still be undefeated if not for some small mistakes. But he added that he knows the Mid-Piedmont 3A Conference will be a tight battle all year and is happy to have grabbed two wins against tough opponents.
Asheboro sophomore Tanner Marsh tosses a pitch in the bottom of the second inning. Marsh threw five strikeouts for the Blue Comets.“We feel like we should be 4-0, but it’s good to get a split against two good teams” Smith said. “Nobody’s going to run through this conference, and it’s going to be a battle every night.
Asheboro improved to 2-2 on the season with the victory. The Blue Comets will travel to Gibsonville for their next game against Eastern Guilford next Tuesday.
The next game for the Patriots is also next Tuesday against Southeast Guilford in Greensboro.