Late innings would once again doom the Purple Panthers baseball squad as Litchfield would fall to Gillespie 8-0 in a South Central Conference match-up in Litchfield on Tuesday, April 23.
Gillespie's six run sixth inning would ignite a one run ball game, as the Miners would defeat Litchfield for the second time in three weeks.
Scoring came at a premium in the first five innings of this contest, as Gillespie would put the lone run on the board in the third inning.
Even though both teams struggled to put runs on the board early in the contest, they were able to find ways to put runners on the base paths. The Miners would have two runners on the bases in the first two innings, but would not be able to capitalize on the scoring threat. The Purple Panthers would get runners on in the opening innings also, but would not be able to get their runners past first base.
In the top half of the third inning, the Miners would strike first when Trent Segarra touched home plate on a passed ball. Segarra would reach base earlier in the inning with a base on balls. He would be one of three walks in the inning awarded by Litchfield's starting pitcher Billy Beckham.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Purple Panthers would look to put a run on the board of their own. Clayton Walch would lead off the inning with a base hit, but would not stay on the base paths for long. Walch would be a victim of a fielder's choice during the next at-bat, as Caleb Jurgena would replace Walch and would be able to advance to third base before the inning would retire.
The one run lead would stay the same until the top of the sixth. In the away portion of the inning, the Miners would increase their lead by six runs. Four walks, a hit batter and a base hit would all result in six runs scoring to make it a 7-0 Miner lead.
The scoring output would result in Litchfield going through three pitchers in the inning, including Beckham.
Beckham would throw a solid game as he would strike out seven, allowing three runs, two earned, off of four hits and eight walks. The starting pitcher, though, would be removed after throwing five and a third innings.
Litchfield's offense would struggle to get the run support the Purple Panthers' pitching needed. After getting a runner to second base in the third inning, the Purple Panthers would only get one other runner that far, coming in the bottom of the seventh inning. Blake Rentz would be the second Purple Panther to reach second base as he would single in the seventh inning and be moved over to second base during the next at-bat.
Gillespie would add one more run in the top half of the seventh inning as the Miners would grab an 8-0 South Central Conference victory. The loss would move the Purple Panthers to 1-3 in the South Central Conference and 3-12 overall.
The Purple Panthers will continue action on the diamond, Friday, April 26, when they host the Southwestern Piasa Birds.
April 23 at Litchfield
Gillespie 001 006 1 8 5 1
Litchfield 000 000 0 0 3 2
Gillespie IP R ER H K BB
W-Higginbotham 7 0 0 3 5 0
Litchfield IP R ER H K BB
L-Beckham 5.1 3 2 4 7 8
Frerichs 0.0 4 3 0 0 4
Frazier 1.2 1 0 1 1 0
Multiple Hits: Gillespie - Joey Carter (2-5).
Records: Gillespie (10-8, 1-4); Litchfield (3-12, 1-3).