Late Eagle runs cut down Cougars 6-3

By Don Brown

April 3, 2014

The visiting Apollo Eagles scored five times in the last two innings to erase a 3-1 Grayson County lead and send the Cougars down to a 6-3 loss Monday evening at Don Lee Field.

Senior right-hander Joseph Anthony was tagged with the loss as he gave up two runs in the sixth that tied the game, then allowed three more in the seventh to send the Cougars to their third loss in seven games. Anthony pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing the five earned runs on six hits. He walked one, struck out three and hit a pair of Eagle batters.

Sophomore Gage Akridge relieved Anthony in the seventh inning and after walking a batter, got the final out of the inning.

The late burst by Apollo ruined an impressive starting outing by junior left-hander Wyatt Skaggs who pitched the first four inning, allowing just a single run on two hits. Skaggs struggled with his control, especially in the third inning. He walked five batters and hit another, but he also struck out seven Eagles.

The Eagles got on the board first with a run off Skaggs in the first inning. Second-baseman Jon Mark Thompson was hit by a Skaggs pitch and later moved to second on a wild pitch.

Skaggs struck out Logan Burnett, but walked Jakob Shuler to put runners at first and second. Starting and winning pitcher Cole Lyons followed with a line-drive single to right that plated Thompson and left runners at second and third with only one out. Skaggs then got Nate Hopewell to pop out and struck out Zach Hopewell to end the inning.

After a 1-2-3 second inning, Skaggs struggled with his control in the third. He walked Thompson leading off, but later picked him off first for the first out of the inning. He then got Burnett to ground out to Alex Shellhart at first. Skaggs then walked the next two batters, but struck out Nate Hopewell to end his troubles.

Grayson County evened the score with a run in the bottom of the third on four straight one-out singles. Logan Ramsey singled and moved to second on a single to right by Jameson Van Meter.

Skaggs followed with a single that was directly at Zach Hopewell in right and Ramsey wasn’t able to score on the play, leaving the bases loaded with one out. Anthony then singled through the hole at short to drive in Ramsey. Again the ball was right at left-fielder Josh Owens and only the one run could score.

The Cougars were still in good shape, though, as they had the bases loaded with just the one out. But Lyons settled down after that and struck out both Shellhart and third-baseman Logan Stevenson to end the Cougar threat.

Grayson County took the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. With one out, Van Meter beat out an infield hit, and moved to second on a groundout by Skaggs. Anthony was walked intentionally to put runners at first and second with two outs.

Shellhart then looped a single to right that plated Van Meter and left runners at the corners. Shellhart was later caught off the bag on a pick-off play, but when Lyons’ throw was dropped by Thompson at second, Anthony scored and Shellhart was safe at second. Lyons then struck out Stevenson to close out the inning.

Apollo tied things at 3-3 with two in the sixth. Nate Hopewell led off with a double to the wall in center field. Zach Hopewell followed with a dunker that dropped just past the glove of Dylan Yaden at short to put runners at first and third.

Owens followed with another little pop that was just beyond the reach of Stevenson at third to score Nate Hopewell to make it 3-2. Anthony then hit Jacob Sumner to load the bases with no one out, and walked Brennan Krahwinkel on four pitches to drive in the tying run.

Anthony retired the next three batters, including a pair of strikeouts, but the damage had been done.

In the seventh, the Eagles loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a hit-batsman and the Cougars drew in their infield. Anthony induced Sumner to hit a ground ball to Yaden at short who fired to the plate for the force at home for the second out of the inning.

But Anthony hit Krahwinkel to drive in a run, and Thompson singled to right to drive in two more and leave runners at second and third. Akridge relieved at this point and immediately walked Burnett to reload the bases, but he got Shuler to fly out to left to end the inning.

The Cougars came to bat in the seventh needing three runs to keep the game going, but Lyons closed it out with a 1-2-3 inning.