Post 56’ers show rust in loss to CV
The Lititz Legion baseball team returned to the diamond on Sunday following a week-long break.
The rust was obvious.
In the end, four errors and seven walks allowed by Post 56’er pitching were too much for them to overcome, as Conestoga Valley hurler Nick Higgins twirled a complete-game decision while sending Lititz to an 8-4 loss District 10 American Legion action in Witmer.
“We just can’t put it all together &tstr; that’s been the story,” Lititz coach Steve Chretien said. “Too many walks, too many errors. If you look back at the two games we played last Sunday, it was the other way around. We played good defense, we didn’t walk a lot of guys and we just didn’t hit. Tonight we hit a little bit, but the walks are going to kill you every time. Then having the little lay-off for a week there too, I don’t think that helps.”
With five league games remaining, the Post 56’ers saw their record fall to 5-6 on the season.
Lititz was hoping to climb above the .500 mark against CV, but the hosts put up a couple of early crooked numbers and scored in each of the first four innings to take a lead they never relinquished.
“I thought (Higgins) did a pretty good job,” Chretien said. “He kept us off-balance. I think we need to refine our approach and that’s something I talked to the guys about. We’re swinging at bad pitches in bad counts.”
The Post 56’ers threatened in the top of the first inning off of CV’s lanky left-hander after Garret High flared a one-out base hit over first and Ian Hart singled up the middle, but they came up empty.
The missed opportunity hurt when CV rallied against Lititz starter Chase Martin in the bottom of the first inning. Following several solid outings in relief, Martin was making his first start on the hill.
“I wanted to see what he could do starting &tstr; he’s been pretty good relieving,” Chretien said. “He’s pitched well and he deserved to have a start.”
The first two batters reached, as Gabby Arellano (1-for-2, 2 walks, 2 runs) singled and Daulton Martin (2-for-4, 3 RBI’s, 2 runs) inside-outed an RBI double to left field to get CV on the board. Martin then settled in, allowing an RBI ground out clean-up hitter Trevor Kruis, but getting out of the inning.
In the second, Martin appeared on his way to having a short inning, but a fielding error at shortstop put runners at second and third, and then Daulton Martin slugged a two-run single to right and Tyler Shirk blooped an RBI single to shallow center field to extend Conestoga Valley’s lead to 5-0.
“Martin, their two-hole hitter, is a good ball player,” Chretien said. “I think he’s got a good chance to play some decent college ball. He hits the ball well.”
Offensively, Lititz managed only six hits off of Higgins, but they capitalized on two of those in the third inning, along with a costly throwing error by catcher Kruis. Ben Keyser (2-for-3, 2 runs) led off with sharply-hit single to left center, Luke Hackman walked, and Kruis threw High’s sac bunt into right field, allowing Keyser to score the Post 56’ers’ first run.
Hart added an RBI ground out to second and Ben Gingrich delivered a run-scoring base hit to left-center, cutting CV’s lead to 5-3.
“I thinking (we might make it interesting), but we kinda went quiet after that,” Chretien said.
Unfortunately, the Post 56’ers were unable to come back with a shutdown inning. Tony Hydock’s bunt single got things started for CV, and then Lititz reliever Ryan Braundmeier issued back-to-back walks, loading the bases. Hydock later crossed the plate on a wild pitch to put his team in front 6-3.
In the fourth, Miguel Arrendondo walked and scored on the back end of a double steal to give CV a four-run advantage.
The Post 56’ers scored their final run in the top of the fifth. Keyser singled over shortstop, Hackman singled to right, High sacrificed, and Hart hit an RBI ground out to shortstop.
But Higgins, who mixed an above-average fastball with good breaking stuff, shut the door from there. He struck out seven and walked just one while throwing 107 pitches.
“(The offense) has been pretty inconsistent all year,” Chretien said.
Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Lititz Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4451.