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There are tough losses and then there's what happened to the Grant County High School baseball team on April 25 by the hands of 32nd District and county rival Williamstown.
Three weeks removed from dispatching the Demons 10-0 in five innings, the Braves were on the short-end of a lopsided 15-5 loss to Williamstown as Demons starting pitcher Michael Walter struck out seven and scattered nine hits in six innings of baseball.
Williamstown's 15 runs are the most Grant County has allowed thus far and the deficit was the largest for the Braves this season.
"Williamstown beat us. We lost to a better team, they were ready and they came out and whipped us. Michael pitched a heck of a game," GCHS coach Van Duncan said.
While Duncan was dejected, Williamstown coach Buck Walter was celebrating the early birthday present with his team.
"We got good all-around play, and we are getting better. This is a great team win. We didn't make many mistakes, and we hit the ball. I love these kids and they are starting to accept their roles," Buck Walter said.
According to Williamstown senior catcher Cody McLafferty the preparation for the game took place during a batting practice session earlier in the week.
"We were able to fix a lot of things and it gave us a lot of confidence," McLafferty said. "This is a huge win for us, and it was a statement game. We were looking to win by 10 runs or more. after getting shut out against them last time."
It took two innings, but Williamstown's bats turned hot with Clyde Caldwell leading off the second inning with a double. Following back-to-back walks issued to Isaac Alger and Devon Hurley, senior first baseman Patrick Gatewood lined a two RBI hit. The Demons added two more runs in the inning to take a 4-0 lead.
"It's real nice to get this win. We didn't hit the ball last time and we hit better. Jumping out early is what won us the game," Gatewood said.
Michael Walter also said that the early start proved to be vital in the Demons earning a victory.
"It felt good to score 15 runs after getting blanked by them earlier this season. The early start gave us confidence that we could beat them," Michael Walter said.
The Braves chipped away at Williamstown's lead in the bottom of the third inning as Dillon Pelfrey reached safely and Josh Cummins hit an RBI triple. Jonathan Cain followed with an RBI double, cutting the deficit to 4-2. Following a walk issued to Colton Perry, the Braves had an opportunity to tie the game with Aaron Goe at the plate, but Goe hit into a fielder's choice and Jeremy Martin struck out to end the inning, leaving two on base.
If anything, the run by Grant County served as a wake-up call for the Demons, who pounded out five runs on three hits in the top of the fourth inning, building their lead to 9-2.
Gatewood led off with a double, Travis Burke hit safely into a fielder's choice and Cody Hurley was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Michael Walter wasted little time clearing the bases, taking an offering from GCHS' Pelfrey and hitting a two-RBI single. Moments later, McLafferty blasted a two-RBI triple. Caldwell scored an RBI for Williamstown's final run.
Williamstown's scoring ways continued in the top of the sixth inning as Storm Mason notched two RBI's, extending the Demons lead to 11-2.
In the bottom half of the inning, Grant County's Scotty Kelley hit a double and Perry hit a single to create a rally for the Braves, which was extended when Goe hit an RBI single. Following a meeting on the mound, Alex Gregg hit an RBI single of his own, but was thrown out at first base moments later to end the threat for the Braves.
One inning later, Grant County had a chance to cut into Williamstown's lead, but could only come away with one run on three hits and the Braves left three on base.
Following back-to-back singles by Pelfrey and Cummins, Cain reached safely and scored an RBI on an error by Mason. A single by Kelley loaded the bases, but Walter managed to get out of the inning following a fly out by Perry and a ground out by Goe.
Michael Walter said his ability to control his pitches was the major reason why he was able to work himself out of a jam.
"The control was there today. I hit my spots real well, and sometimes, that is a little better than velocity. If a couple things happen, they are right back into the game," Michael Walter said.
The wheels fell completely off for Grant County in the top of the seventh as the Demons loaded the bases with a combination of a single and back-to-back walks.
Mason notched an RBI and Caldwell hit a sac fly to score Hurley. Moments later, Patrick Spoonamore came off the bench to pinch hit and drilled a two RBI triple, giving the Demons a 15-5 advantage.