Patriots fend off Bulldogs’ comeback

The Union County Patriots’ baseball team held off a late Batesville comeback on Tuesday evening to start the season 1-0. UC got the ball rolling early, putting up two runs in the first inning and another in the third to go up 3-0. An explosive fifth inning for UC added five more runs and the Pats led 8-1 going into the final inning. The Bulldogs put five runs across the plate in the top of the seventh frame, but the Pats were able to get the Dogs’ final two batters to fly out, giving UC an 8-6 win.

Kyle Sams started on the mound for UC and got through the first inning allowing only one baserunner, a Jack Grunkemeyer walk. Devyn Shepherd led off for UC in the bottom of the first with a triple. Logan Boone came up to bat and knocked in Shepherd. Two batters later, Josh Klein hit a rope to knock in Boone and put the Patriots up 2-0. BHS pitcher Alex Baumer escaped the inning after giving up five hits.

Sams continued to stifle the Dogs’ batters with his fastball, picking up two strikeouts in the second frame. Baumer got through the second inning without giving up any hits or runs. Batesville went three up, three down in the top of the third. In the bottom of the third, Eric Burdine led off with a single. Two outs later, Coleton Wicker singled and Burdine scored the third run for UC. Wicker ended the inning coming up short trying to take second base on the play.

Grunkemeyer started the fourth inning off with a double for the Dogs; Sams retired the next two batters via strikeout, and after making it to third base, Grunkemeyer scored Batesville’s first run on a wild pitch. Cade Kaiser took over on the mound for BHS in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kaiser issued a walk in the frame, but retired three Patriots and the game was still 3-1 in UC’s favor.

Sams continued to deal from the rubber and sent three Bulldogs back to the dugout in the fifth inning. Sams used his bat to get the Pats started in the bottom of the fifth and Burdine followed with his third hit of the night. Mason Stewart singled and picked up an RBI with Sams scoring. Klein singled, and Wicker picked up an RBI knocking in Burdine. UC kept the bats going with Gavin Davis grabbing an RBI after Stewart scored; Klein and Wicker also scored in the frame to give the Patriots an 8-1 lead.

UC brought in senior Mathew Wooley to pitch the sixth inning. Wooley allowed one baserunner and forced three popups to get the UC offense another chance at the plate. Carter Bohman came in to pitch for BHS and shut down the UC offense in the bottom half of the frame. The Dogs started the final frame with a Bohman single and an Eli Loichinger triple that scored Bohman. A. Baumer singled to score Loichinger, Chris Lewis drew a walk and Carson Schneider singled. Grunkemeyer came up to bat for the Dogs and doubled to right field picking up two RBIs. M. Baumer grabbed an RBI in the next at bat, scoring Schneider on a sac fly, and Batesville had closed the gap to two runs. The Patriots got the third out after getting Jaisle to fly out and end the game.

The Bulldogs travel to Connersville tonight for a 6pm contest and host New Palestine on Saturday at noon.

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