Things were going along rather well at the plate for Tabernacle Christian in their ACEA conference opener Monday against Tabernacle Christian at Mt. Olive Ball Park.
On the pitching mound? Fair to middling.
On defense? Don’t ask.
The Torches committed eight errors, almost all in the latter half of the game and all but one of which led to Warriors runs, as the Torches lost 11-3.
Of those 11 runs, eight came from runners who either got on base because of an error or a walk, or came in to score on an error.
Tabernacle coach Tim Thompson was not amused.
“The old rule of baseball is this: that every walk or every error will score,” Thompson said. “I would say that we got beat by strictly errors. It should have been a 3-3 or 3-2 ball game, and ended up being 11-3. Tuscaloosa’s a very good team, and they capitalize on every error. Every walk they capitalized with a hit behind, and every error they capitalized by scoring.”
That started in the second inning, as Tabernacle starting pitcher Zach Morgan issued a pair of two-out walks, then saw those runners score on a double by center fielder Jordan Potter. Left fielder Andrew Mason followed that up with a double which brought home Potter.
Potter drove in another run in the fourth after Jake Pope reached on a walk. Potter was thrown out in a rundown trying to stretch out his single, but Pope reached home before Potter was tagged out.
The Warriors broke the game open in the fifth, scoring three runs off three errors plus a double by pitcher Trae Livingston.
Three more Torches errors plus a Tyler Foust double led to three more Tuscaloosa runs in the seventh.
Morgan went four innings with four strikeouts, giving up two hits and three walks with four earned runs. Cody Sentelle finished the game, striking out four; all seven runs scored were unearned.
“We didn’t put hits together. We pitched good enough to win, but we didn’t play good enough to win,” Thompson said. “I feel like Zach Morgan and Cody Sentelle threw the ball very well.”
The Torches were able to get Jason Wilson and JoJo Zassoda, the top two in the batting order, on base with consistency. But the heart of the order couldn’t do anything with them. Wilson and Zassoda were on base in seven out of eight plate appearances, but only Wilson scored after his lead-off double in the third inning, on Zassoda’s single to right field.
The 3-4-5 hitters were a collective 0-for-10, with Sentelle reaching on a hit-by-pitch and Morgan twice grounding into double plays.
The lower-order hitting proved to be a blessing for Thompson’s squad, with a 2-for-3 effort by second baseman C.J. White and a run-scoring line drive double to center field by his cousin, John, in the fourth inning.
“I thought the bottom of our order hit the ball well. We hit the ball well in spots, but nothing consistent,” Thompson said.
The Torches play in the Covenant Christian Tournament in Huntsville this weekend, then take off next week for spring break.