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Braves drop season opener to Bishop Brossart

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By Ryan Naus

The Grant County baseball team learned quickly that the road to a third straight district championship would not be an easy one.

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The Braves started their season with a 5-1 loss to Bishop Brossart on March 22.

“It’s the first game, but we had some costly errors,” coach Darrick Lee said. “But we’ll get those fixed. We’re talking about kids and first-game jitters. That’s what I’m putting it on. It’s a learning experience.”

Junior Aaron Goe took the mound for the Braves, striking out two in the first inning while allowing a single.

The Braves struck in the bottom of the first inning as senior Dillon Pelfrey started the inning off with a single up the middle. After stealing second, Pelfrey advanced to third base on a groundout by Goe. Pelfrey scored on a single by junior Kyle Wallace for the Braves’ lone run.

Goe continued to shut down Bishop Brossart’s bats, striking out four more over the next three innings before running into trouble in the top of the fifth.

With one out and a Bishop Brossart runner on first base, a single put runners on the corners. Bishop Brossart scored on a passed ball to tie the game. After Pelfrey snagged a short liner for an out, Goe got out of the inning with a groundout to leave the score tied 1-1.

Other than the first inning, the Braves only had one base runner until the fifth inning when freshman Ben Shipp hit a shot to deep center for a double. Shipp was caught in a fielder’s choice on the Braves’ next at-bat to end the Braves’ threat.

Bishop Brossart took control of the game in the top of the sixth when, after a walk with one out, Grant County had an error in the outfield that put runners on second and third base. Bishop Brossart followed with a single up the middle to drive in two runs. The Mustangs were able to manufacture a fourth run after stealing second and taking third on a passed ball. A groundout drove in the fourth run to put Bishop Brossart ahead 4-1.

The Braves followed with a quick bottom of the inning with three groundouts.

The Mustangs added a fifth run in the top of the seventh after two more errors by the Braves kept giving Bishop Brossart extra chances.

The Braves were unable to rally and the game ended with a 5-1 loss.

“We’ve got a few things that we have to work on defensively, but most of our errors were mental,” Lee said. “We need to relax and play the game.”

“We just didn’t come through and put it all together,” Pelfrey said. “We’ve got some stuff to work on. Without a doubt, we’ll start improving. Everyone knows who Grant County is now and people will be gunning for us. That will motivate us.”

The Braves suffered two injuries during their intra-squad scrimmage on March 20, as sophomore Jimmy Robbins broke his ankle and junior Roman Jaconette injured his hip. Robbins is expected to be out for the season, while Jaconette is working to get back on the field.