After starting the season with two wins last week, the Midway Raiders baseball team was dealt their first loss of the season as they fell 3-2 to the visiting Rosewood Eagles on Monday. Midway had previously beaten the Eagles in a game that was a defensive struggle, but it was Rosewood who bested the Raiders this time around in similar fashion.
Rosewood struck first in the top of the second inning as the Eagles got a pair of doubles by Jonathan Peacock and Derek Neal. The duo combined to generate a 1-0 lead for Rosewood headed to the bottom of the second inning.
In the bottom of the same inning, Midway was able to answer right back. Adam Butler kicked the inning off for the Raiders, getting a lead off hit on a ball that deflected off the tip of the glove of the Eagles second baseman. Butler was advanced after a Dustin Holland fly that allowed Butler to take second base. With two outs, Chandler Williford singled to right field to bring Butler home for the tying score.
Both teams were held at bay in the third inning to preserve the 1-1 tie.
The top of the fourth inning proved to be a big influence on the final outcome of the game. A series of Midway miscues assisted Rosewood in generating two more runs for the 3-1 lead. Rosewood’s lead-off batter reached on an error at third base, while the second batter was hit by a pitch. The third Eagles batter hit a choppy ground ball up the middle that looked like would go for a double play. Instead, the ball got by the Raiders shortstop, allowing a run to score for the Eagles 2-1 lead. The Eagles got another run on the next at-bat as a wild pitch resulted in another run scored. Midway finally got out of the jam, but Rosewood was up 3-1.
The Raiders, just as they had done earlier in the game, came right back. Once again, Butler belted a leadoff double deep into center field. Holland followed suit, drawing a walk to put to runners on first and second with no outs. After the Eagles got a strikeout to give Midway an out, Williford hit a grounder to first base for a double-play attempt. The first baseman tagged his base for the force out, but the throw to second was errant. With the ball rolling into the outfield, Butler rounded third for the score while Griffin Williams, who was pinch running for Holland, arrived safely at third. Midway’s little spurt was abruptly halted, however, as the Eagles struck out Carson Calcutt to end the threat and preserve their lead at 3-2.
The Raiders had one final chance to tie the game up in the bottom of the seventh. After holding the Eagles to three up three down in both the sixth and seventh innings, Midway was still within one run of tying things up.
Midway’s Austin Raynor led the inning off, reaching first base after a close play at first in which a wild throw caused the Eagles first baseman to come off the bag. With Williford at the plate, a wild pitch moved Raynor over to second base with no outs. Williford laid down a sacrifice grounder that allowed Raynor to move to third with one out. With the Raynor, representing the tying run, standing on third, Calcutt hit a sharp grounder up the right side. Raynor gambled, racing home in an attempt to catch the infield sleeping. His attempt was unsuccessful, however, as the Eagles catcher controlled the throw home and applied the tag to stifle Midway’s golden opportunity. With two outs and Calcutt on first and Greg Nobles up to bat, the Raiders had one final shot. Nobles hit a shot up the middle, but the Rosewood second baseman corralled the hit and got the force at second to end the game.
Midway head coach Jason Fussell acknowledged that his team missed some opportunities but didn’t want discredit his opponent.
“Whenever we had a situation that was favorable to us we just couldn’t make it happen. I think we had two or three situations where we had opportunities but the ball just didn’t fall our way,” Fussell said. “Rosewood has a good team. The game at their place was one that could have went either way as well. We beat them 4-1 but six inches here and there and they beat us 4-1.”
Midway drops to 2-1 overall on the season with the loss and will be back in action on Wednesday at Triton.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at email@example.com.