By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
ELLISTOWN – It was not a thing of beauty, but Hatley Tigers head coach John Harris will gladly put every type of division game in the win column that he can.
Showing the seasoning of an undefeated team, the Tigers took advantage of runners in scoring position when it mattered, claiming a 4-3 victory over a determined East Union Urchins squad in Division 1-2A play.
“We had to battle all night,” said Harris, whose Tigers (12-0-1, 2-0) remained unbeaten with the effort. “We had some timely hitting, and the main thing tonight, we were able to get bunts down with that timely hitting.”
Part of Hatley’s timeliness paid off in the top of the seventh inning with the score tied 3-3.
Jake Self had a leadoff single, advanced to second on a bunt, and to third on a wild pitch. With two out, Caleb Walters hit a pop directly to the second base bag, which an infielder tripped over attempting to make the play, allowing the winning run to score.
Hatley starter Russ Johnson (4-0) then set East Union (10-6, 2-1) in order to close out the contest.
“This was a terrible loss for us,” East Union head coach Chris Basil said. “We missed opportunities to win this game.
“It’s time for the team to step up and be successful.”
The Urchins left runners in scoring position in the first, third, and fifth innings.
Moving them over
Hatley was successful on the bases, beginning in the first, scoring a solo run without a hit. A bunt single in the fourth set up a sacrifice fly by Garrett Gray for the Tigers second run, and in the fifth, Walters had an RBI hit.
East Union plated a run on a hit and two errors in the third inning. Then in the sixth, the Urchins tied the contest with two runs on a bases loaded ground ball.
“We made some mistakes in the field that are uncharacteristic of us,” Harris said. “Russ Johnson did a good job on the mound against a good hitting team.”
The rematch of these two teams is Friday, with East Union at Hatley.