The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 27, 2013

Attica holds on to beat Covington

BY GREG FLINT
Commercial-News

ATTICA, Ind. —  Attica took an early lead when they hosted Covington in baseball. The Ramblers then held off a late rally by the Trojans to preserve an 8-5 win.

The hosts threatened right away, as they used a single by Jordan Capps and a pair of walks to load the bases in the first, but Jared Cates, the Covington pitcher, got the next batter to fly out to end the inning.

In their next at bats, the Ramblers got a walk and stolen base by Matt Tillotson and a single by Brad Green, but Cates once again retired the remaining batters.

Covington got their first hit in the third inning, a single by Peyton Cutrell. They followed up with another single, this one by Gage Hegg, but Austin Smyth, the Attica pitcher matched Cates in retiring the side with no damage done.

Attica finally broke the shutout by scoring three unearned runs in their half of the third. After two outs, a Covington error put

Justin Harmeson on base and Lance Whorrall singled him home. Wade Keller walked then Tillotson doubled both Worrall and Keller home for a 3-0 lead.

“That’s what’s been hurting us,” said Covington coach Troy Bever, “But at least this time we didn’t go behind by 11-0 or some such. It’s progress that we cut it off and stayed in the game.”

His team got right back into it in their next at bats as Karson Allen reached on an error then Tristan Keller hit a shot over the left field fence to make it 3-2.

Attica got one of those runs back in their half as JR Dunwell tripled and Smyth singled him home. In doing so, Smyth hurt his knee and had to leave the game, turning the pitching duties over to Mike Green. Green gave up a run in the fifth as Blake Norwell walked, stole second then scored on a triple by Allen that made it 4-3.

The bottom of that inning was the difference in the game. Attica scored four runs on a walk, a double by Isaac Mroczkiewicz in a pinch-hit role, an infield hit by Carson Davis and a home run by Dunwell that made it 8-3.

That is how the score remained until the seventh when Covington began to push runs across. Ethan Taylor led off with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch.

Allen doubled him home then Garrett Johnson reached on an error. Michael Slider followed with a single that scored Allen then Cutrell drew a walk.

That was enough for Attica coach Rich Stoll to bring in Harmeson to face Norwell. The count reached 3-2 then Norwell hit a ball that Whorrall fielded at short. He then beat Cutrell to second for a force out that ended the game.

“I could tell everybody wanted to do well at home,” said Stoll about his team. “We’ve only had a doubleheader here so everybody was trying hard for the win.”

The Ramblers are a senior-laden team and one thing that the team needs, according to Stoll, is consistency.

“We shouldn’t make mistakes out there,” he said. “I think we only had two errors. We were aggressive, but that’s what we want from our team.”

Stoll said one goal for the team is to be recognized statewide as one of the top teams.

“We’d like to be in the top 15, but we’ve had a couple of one-run losses so our record is 7-5 instead of 9-3,” Stoll said.

Bever wants his team to get where Stoll’s team is now.

“We want to be consistent and not make the mistakes that we did, but that’s youth,” he explained. “We sometimes play like we’re waiting for that bad play or like we’re playing not to lose instead of playing to win.

“We’re starting to get a couple of guys like Cates today whose pitching is getting better. When we get Craig Root back, that will give us three guys and I think we’ll start giving teams a battle.”