The game was troubled by controversy beginning almost right away. In the second inning, with Ashland leading by two, an Eagle Point runner had stolen home base, but the umpire sent him back to third because the umpire said he had called the time out. Another incident had an EP batter taking a strike, even though his feet were outside the box, because, apparently, time out was not called. Someone in the crowd said this was “nothing but a power thing for the ump.” Members of the Eagle Point crowd also gave a collective groan when what looked like a strike was called a ball, allowing an Ashland batter to walk to first.
The Eagles seemed stricken more by bad luck than a lack of ability. Once, during the fourth inning with a runner on first, a ground ball hit by Johnnie Wilkerson bounced off the pitcher’s mound right into the second baseman’s glove, making the double play for the third out all too easy. Coach Newmann later shrugged and said this was “just the game of baseball.”
The fifth inning began with the Eagles down by four runs. Here, the Eagle Point crowd joined in with words exchanged between an Eagle Point coach and two of the umpires. The argument was over a display of poor sportsmanship, for which the offending player from Ashland did apologize before the game was over. After the game, Coach Newmann expressed his wish that people in the bleachers would leave it for the coaching staff to speak on behalf of the players. Ashland scored two more runs in the fifth and the Eagles could not make up the deficit by the end.
Looking at the size difference between the players, the Ashland team must have a greater number of upperclassmen. But, Newmann made it clear that he would not make any excuses, or blame the officials for his team’s loss. “We got beat,” he said. “Their pitcher threw a solid game. Ours didn’t.” Coach Newmann verbally complimented the Ashland pitcher for a “good game” as he was leaving the field. To which, the pitcher smiled and returned the wave.
Despite their failure to “execute in key situations,” Newmann said he was “encouraged with the improvement” of his athletes. He highlighted the awesome performance of his catcher wearing #1, Daniel Morgan. Several times, Morgan picked off runners trying to steal and he was often jumping up with his arm cocked to threaten a runner back to base. Morgan was on his toes the whole game.
By Michael Stephens
of the Independent