BRISTOL BORO – Bristol pounded out seven hits including a pair of doubles in Friday’s home battle against visiting Plumstead Christian.
That might sound like a lot though it really wasn’t when you consider the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) rival Panthers strung together 20 hits in the duel including four doubles on their way to a lopsided 18-3 triumph over the Warriors.
In addition to the 20 hits posted by Plumstead, the Panthers drew five walks and five more bases on hit batsmen. As if that weren’t enough, Bristol surrendered more than 20 bases on either steals or wild pitches that got past the catcher.
“That’s gonna kill us; that’s kills us every game,” said junior first baseman Xavier Corbin. “We started off strong in the beginning and then we just started to weaken a lot more.”
The blame on all those free bases is shared equally between the pitchers and catchers.
“You can’t really single anyone out,” said Corbin. “It works both ways.”
Really, this duel was a contest until the fifth inning when Plumstead broke the battle open with six runs in the fifth inning. Before that it was a 4-2 ballgame.
Panthers leadoff hitter Brendan Meyer – who had a day at the plate, hitting 5-for-5, three RBI to go along with three runs scored – slapped a game-opening double, advanced third on a dropped third strike then scored in the very same fashion.
“He gets us started in that leadoff spot every game,” said PC head coach Bill Weaver. “He’s very versatile – Brendan Meyer – he’s a great ballplayer.
“Last year, he had the most hits in the conference; he’s a ballplayer.”
Josh Ruch’s double down the left field line pushed the score to 2-0 while Artie Micheel’s single through the second base side, made it 3-zip.
The Warriors got a run back in the bottom of the frame with Tyler Gonzalez starting things off with a one-out opposite field double to right field and a pair of errors committed by the visitors.
The top of the third saw Austin Pfaff and Christian Roberts tag Bristol starter Austin Funair for a pair of one-out singles. The junior righthander for the Warriors fanned Conner Seelig and induced a shallow pop to first base by Josh Pritchard that might have been caught for the third out. It wasn’t and Plumstead had itself a 4-1 early lead.
“Balls that are outs in the air have to be caught,” said Bristol head coach Lou Persichetti. “And a lot of those fell. They had some bleeders. Give them credit; they put the ball in play. But a couple of those balls in the air have to be caught. That definitely hurt us.”
PC starting pitcher Brock Hewitt – who went five innings – helped himself with an RBI single to left field in the fourth inning – the frame that broke this one open.
That was followed by a bloop single by Pfaff, a 2-run double by Roberts, an RBI single by Seelig, and a 2-run single up the middle that could have been fielded by number nine hitter Artie Micheel that pushed the score to 10-2.
For their part, the Warriors failed to capitalize on their own opportunities at the plate. In the fifth inning, Bristol loaded the sacks on successive singles by leadoff hitter Jarrett Wagner, Mike Ocasio and George Delgado and a walk drawn by Corbin produced but a lone run. That’s because Hewitt fanned the last two batters to escape further harm in the frame.
In the sixth, a single Danny Panzano and a walk drawn by Chris Paci put two men on with no outs. Again, Hewitt, fanned the side to get out of the inning.
“Anytime you don’t get a run with men on base in an inning, it hurts,” added Persichetti. “When you get shut out two innings in a row, it’s demoralizing.
“We gotta do a better job. We’ve been preaching it – put the ball in play and put the pressure on the defense.
We just have too many guys struggling at the plate right now.”
Plumstead posted a pair of runs on a one-out, bases-loade single by Meyer in the sixth inning.
The Panthers loaded the bases again in the seventh on a single, a walk and a hit batsman. The Warriors looked like they might escape further harm when Micheel slapped a blooper to shallow left field.
That was one of those balls the coach said should have been caught.
It wasn’t and Plumstead went on to tack on six more runs in the inning.
A RULING: Pretty sure the baserunner is not permitted to use the fielder’s back as a stepping stone along the basepath, but that’s what happened in the second inning when Panthers rightfielder Artie Micheel hurdled over Bristol infielder Allen Reyes when he was caught in a rundown between second and third. Micheel proceded to jump outside the basepath, miss third base entirely, then head for home before being run down before he reached the plate. Mr. home plate umpire, you have to call that play dead. It didn’t matter in the outcome of the game, though it sure had spectators scratching their heads.
TOP PHOTO: Bristol baserunner Javier Nieves, right, gets back to first base in time to avoid the tag by Plumstead Christian infielder Josh Ruch in Panthers’ lopsided win over the Warriors April 28 at Brstol Borough Memorial Ballfields. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)
Plumstead Christian 18, Bristol 3
(April 28, 2017)
PLUMSTEAD 121 602 6 – 18 20 2
BRISTOL 011 010 0 – 3 7 1