The #6 Rolla baseball team (11-3-1) made the trip up to Jeff City to face off against the defending State Champs on Wednesday, April 18. After a rough first inning, Rolla made a comeback to tie the game, but they couldn't hold off the potent offense of the Jays in a 13-10 loss.
The first inning wasn't what the Bulldogs were shooting for on Wednesday night. After scoring three runs in the top of the inning, Rolla had some issues with the Jays in the bottom of the frame. Jeff City scored nine runs in the first, putting Rolla behind the eight ball from jump street. Jonathan Reese started for the Bulldogs, but didn't make it out of the first after allowing eight runs, six of which were earned. Reese surrendered six hits and walked two, while getting just two outs in the first. Trey Quick came in to get the final out in the inning, allowing the ninth run in the process.
After a rough first inning, Rolla started chipping into the Jays' lead. The Bulldogs scored a run in the and two more in the third, before tying the game at nine with three runs in the top of the fourth. That tie was short lived, however, as Jeff City came back with three more runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead back for good. After allowing the first two runs of the inning, Quick was pulled for Davie Pound. Pound allowed one more run before getting out of the inning. Quick pitched a total of 2.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on one hit, two walks and four strikeouts. He took the loss for Rolla.
Rolla scored one more run in the fifth, but they didn't have another comeback in the cards. Jeff City added another run of their own in the sixth to cap off the 13-10 win over the Bulldogs. Pound finished things out on the mound by allowed two earned runs on two hits, while striking out three in three innings of work.
Offensively, several Bulldogs had strong days. Zeke Arthur and Will Bolyard each drove in three runs on two hits, with Bolyard also drawing a walk and scoring a run. Noah Doyle was 2-2 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI. Blaize Klossner also had a multi-hit day for Rolla, going 2-3 with a walk. Joel Simmons added an RBI of his own on one hit and a walk. Every Rolla player with an at bat recorded a base hit in the loss. Rolla had 13 hits and seven walks as a team. While scoring 10 runs is usually enough to win a ball game, head coach Marty Hauck knows that the Bulldogs left a few runs on the basepaths.
"There at the end, we were getting a lot of guys on, but we left a lot of guys in scoring position," said coach Hauck. "We gotta get those key runs and that was something we struggled with last year. We've been working on it and we've been doing a good job this year, but we kept leaving them on again on our offensive side. Then for them, it seemed like every time they got a guy on second base, he scored. They were getting those key hits in those situations."
While coach Hauck wishes his team came out with the win, he was proud that his team fought back after a rough first inning.
"It was very positive on that note, just seeing the fight the kids had in them and the confidence they had at the plate," said coach Hauck. "They knew we were gonna score runs and we did."
Coach Hauck thinks this game will be an important learning lesson for his team.
"It's very important for our kids. You never want to take a loss, obviously, but at the same point in time it's important for them to understand that it's a one game playoff at the end of the year and one bad inning like that can end your season," said the Rolla head coach. "That's a lesson on that token, but at the same point in time, we need to keep beating the better teams. Jeff City is the returning State Champs and they plan to get there again."
Coach Hauck hopes his team can bounce back when they host St. James on Friday for the friendly cross-town rivalry game.
"We need this game Friday, because next week kinda sets up conference," said Hauck. "We've got three conference games next week that are all huge in the conference play, so we need to get back on track hopefully Friday and try to get the momentum back on our side."