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Baseball Battle

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Braves best Demons 4-1

By Ryan Naus

When the Grant County Braves and Williamstown Demons took to the field for their first matchup of the season, a pitching duel broke out.

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Dillon Pelfrey pitched for the Braves and helped his own cause at the plate, as the Braves won 4-1 on April 22.

“We were shaky at first,” GCHS coach Justin Hollingsworth said. “Williamstown played a good ball game, but I told our players before the fifth inning that it was time to turn it on and that’s when we got some runs. A lot of times, the way Pelfrey goes is the way the team goes.”

Pelfrey had four strikeouts in the first two innings, shutting down Williamstown’s bats, but Isaac Alger took the mound for the Demons striking out three in the first two innings and keeping the Braves off the scoreboard.

The Demons had a chance to score first in the third inning as a single by Zack Anglin started the inning. After stealing second, Anglin advanced to third base when Patrick Spoonamore laid down a sacrifice bunt. The Demons weren’t able to plate a run when Anglin was caught in a rundown while trying to steal home.

Pelfrey ripped a triple to right field in the bottom of the third and scored on a groundout by Alex Gregg to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. The Braves could have added to their lead after Aaron Goe hit a double and Kyle Wallace walked, but Alger brought the heat, ending the threat with a strikeout.

The Demons tied the game in the top of the fourth inning when Storm Mason walked and hustled to third on a single by Cody Hurley. Joel Price laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Mason, tying the game 1-1.

Grant County retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Pelfrey drilled a homerun to right field to put the Braves up 2-1.

“It felt great,” Pelfrey said. “I’ve had to change up my swing a couple times this year already, but I think I finally found it.”

Gregg followed with a walk, advancing to third after two passed balls, before Brandon Holder drove him in with a single. Jimmy Robbins drove in Wallace with a single to put the Braves up 4-1.

Mason took the mound for the sixth and seventh innings, holding the Braves scoreless and giving the Demons a chance for a comeback.

The Demons loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with two outs, but a groundout ended the inning and kept the Braves on top to preserve their win.

“We all pulled together for the win,” Pelfrey said. “Hopefully we can put the past behind us and continue to play as a team.”

With the win, the Braves locked up the second seed for the district tournament.

“I think we’re getting our stroke back,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s a big district win. I’m happy to get a win and hopefully we can get another winning streak going. Pelfrey is a hard-nosed player and he’s baseball smart. We’ve got a lot of young players that have to realize that this is their time. When they step up, it’s always a plus for us.”

For Williamstown, one inning cost them the game, which has been their downfall this year.

“To be honest, I feel like we played a good game,” WHS coach Aaron Biddle said. “Isaac rose up to the challenge, but every game we play one inning does it to us. It’s been the story of our year. We have to keep on keeping on. We have to put this behind us and hopefully we can come out and score some runs. We’re focusing on the positives and hopefully by the time we get to the districts, we can surprise these guys.”

“We played right with them, but that one inning everything went wrong and it seems like we couldn’t battle back,” Mason said. “We have to think of the cup as half full. We’re close and we need to keep battling. We can play with anybody but we have to cut out a bad inning.”

Braves drop two against Western Hills, Villa Madonna

The Braves were unable to build upon their success against Williamstown as they lost their next two games.

The Braves lost to Western Hills 16-2 on April 23.

“They were the number nine team in the state and we played like we were scared,” Hollingsworth said. “I think we got caught up by their ranking and came out nervous and never got it going. They hit the ball well and we didn’t.”

The Braves followed with a 10-2 loss to South Oldham on April 25.

“We have just been having some breakdowns lately,” Hollingsworth said. “We are struggling at the plate. We’ve started watching a whole lot of pitches, especially strike three. We’ve lost a lot of aggressiveness. We have four games this week with three at home, so I’m hoping we can get back on track.”

Next up for the Grant County Braves:

• April 29 at home against Bourbon County

• April 30 at home against Conner

• May 1 at home against Walton-Verona

• May 4 at Carroll County

• May 5 at Bishop Brossart