BY GREG FLINT
Coming off a rough loss the day before, the Westville baseball team wanted to get back on the right track when they hosted North Vermilion on Tuesday. The Tigers did so as they defeated the Falcons 7-5 in tight contest.
Neither team was able to get the big rally that that would put the game out of reach of their opponent, but instead, each side had their chances to win.
“We had to work for our runs,” is how Westville head coach Joe Brazas put it. “We got the hits we had to have, but not the big ones.”
His team scored the first run of the game in their half of the first when Tanner Cox led off with a walk, stole second and reached third on a passed ball. Two batters later, Tyler Dicken singled to left field to drive in Cox.
North Vermillion tried to answer in the second, getting three runners on base, but the trio died there, as no one was able to drive them home.
Westville added another run in the bottom of the inning on a double by Kyle Brazas and a single by Adam High. The Tigers could have had more, but left two players stranded with a final out.
“We left too many runners on base today — I don’t know how many, but too many,” said Joe Brazas. “We just needed one more hit.”
His team did get the hits he wanted in the third as they used three singles and took advantage of a Falcon error to push three more runs across to lead 5-0 after three innings.
When they came up in the fourth, North Vermillion tried to get back into the game and this time they succeeded.
Davin Craft walked and moved to second when the Tigers misplayed a ball hit by Austin Dickerson. James Fortner followed with a double that scored Craft. After a pitch hit Calvin Doan, Dickerson scored on a passed ball to make it 5-2, but the Falcons still left two runners at inning’s end.
“We didn’t get down on ourselves when we got behind,” said North Vermillion coach Nate O’Neall. “We kept on coming back.”
When Westville came to the plate, they tried to push the lead back up and managed to get one run to lead 6-3. As they came up in the sixth, Brazas told his team they needed another run and got it.
Marx walked, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch. Jeffery Thompson came through with single to center to make it 7-3 as North Vermillion prepared for their final at-bats.
The Falcons did as their coach described, coming back with two runs as Devon Sams singled, Craft singled and Dickerson reached on an error.
Fortner and Doan then singled, driving in the runs and loading the bases, but the last two Falcon batters were outs.
O’Neall had the same complaint about his team as did Brazas, saying, “We left too many men on base,” but saying he liked what he saw from his players.
“We’re young and still trying to find our way without Dalton McCool,” he explained. “When you lose the best player in the WRC [to graduation], you have to find a new way to win. We’re making progress, but we’re not there yet.”
Brazas said his team did what he asked them to do.
“I told them to forget yesterday – to learn from it, but forget it – that today is a new day and go out and play and they did.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org