Upon entering the post-season a team needs a combination of quality play and some luck. St. Catharine head coach Luther Bramblett said his team got neither last week as his Bat Pats suffered consecutive losses to exit the Mid-South Conference tournament and end the season.
“We just didn’t play well either game,” said the Patriots’ skipper whose team lost Thursday to Shawnee Sate in the opener and then to Lindsey Wilson in an elimination game later that day, both game being played on Lindsey Wilson’s home field.
The misfortune the Patriots (32-25) were dealt came when top seeded Lindsey Wilson lost to number eight seed Rio Grande in the first game, thus dropping them into the loser’s bracket where they faced St. Catharine.
“Yeah, you don’t expect to be playing a team like that in the first elimination game,” added Bramblett. “But we had our chances and didn’t make the plays.”
The Patriots grabbed a 1-0 lead against the Blue Raiders in the top of the first inning when Jeremy Turpin (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) led off with a single and scored on an error. The Blue Raiders (41-14) took the lead for good in the fifth inning when they scored two unearned runs off starting pitcher Javier Perez (Henderson, Nev.).
The lead grew to 4-1 before the Patriots pushed across a run in the eighth inning when Tyler Mischel (St. Louis, Mo.) singled and CJ Englestad’s Rohnert Park, Calif.) ground out scored pinch runner Trenton Claunch (Burgin, Ky.). Lindsey Wilson answered with a run in the bottom of the eighth to regain the three run lead.
St. Catharine threatened in the ninth inning when they scored one run on a Charlie Pal (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) single and two errors. They had the tying run at the plate with one out but Blue Raider’s reliever Daniel Pulliam fanned the final two batters to end the game.
Turpin had two of the Patriots’ six hits in the game. Neither team had an extra base hit. The Bat Pats stranded nine runners while the Blue raiders left 13 on base.
Earlier in the day the Patriots were beaten 12-4 by Shawnee State (32-23). The Bears, who were swept three games by St. Catharine in the opening series of the season, used an eight run fifth inning to grab a 12-0 lead en route to the victory.
The Bears pounded out 20 hits against three St. Catharine hurlers. Ryan Rizzi (Lansing, Ill.) (6-2) started and allowed half of those 20 hits while giving up seven runs in four innings. Scott Clemmons (Shelbyville, Ky.) allowed four runs on four hits in 2/3 of an inning and Trenton Claunch gave up one run on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Juan Moriel (San Diego, Calif.) had three of the nine hits St. Catharine collected. Jeremy Turpin had two hits including a home run and Luis Zeledon (Los Angeles, Calif.) had two hits. Tyler Mischel also hit a solo home run.
“We faced a lot of adversity all year,” stated Bramblett whose team had not lost the first two tournament games since joining the Mid-South Conference in 2009. “We really never had our full lineup on the field since the first game of the season. But overall we competed and battled all year. But at the end of the day we didn’t end up where we wanted to be.”