The Hercules Cluster

April 10, 2012

For the Delaware Christian baseball team, recording victories is tough enough. Keeping the program going is even tougher.

Injuries and low turnout have hurt the Eagles this season, and Granville Christian took advantage, using a solid offensive attack and one-hit pitching to roll to a 17-1 Mid-Ohio Christian Athletic League victory over the Eagles Tuesday at Liberty Field.

“We’re really young and inexperienced,” Delaware Christian coach Sharon Copley said. “We only have a couple of guys who’ve played a little ball and we had four guys who didn’t come back from last year. Our infielders are kids we played in the outfield last year; they’re the older, experienced guys.”

Delaware Christian (1-3, 1-3 MOCAL) wasn’t helped by injuries suffered just the day before. Junior catcher Carl Stover and sophomore outfielder Paul Reeves both left Monday’s game against Tree of Life, and Stover’s hand injury will keep him out the rest of the season.

“We lost Carl last night after he broke a bone in his hand, and Paul took a shot to the elbow, so he’s out for a while,” Copley said. “Those are two guys who’ve played the last couple of years, and we’re already short-handed.”

That combination didn’t bode well for the Eagles, and a flurry of Granville Christian (4-4, 1-4) hits in the first inning, including a pair of doubles and a triple, helped the visiting Lions to a 5-0 lead after a half inning.

Delaware Christian senior right-hander Jeff Copley settled in after that, but Granville still was able to score twice in the second with two out when strike three to the Lions’ Dallas Martin went wide, allowing the inning to continue. A pair of singles, another wild pitch and two passed ball allowed the two runs to score.

“Even if you have a really good defense, it’s hard to defend line drive shots that hit the gaps,” Coach Copley said. “There are some plays we should have made, but for the most part, Granville Christian did a good job of hitting the ball.”

Copley retired the side in the third, but Granville scored three times more in the fourth on four singles and an error.

Delaware Christian got its lone hit and run in the bottom of the fourth, when Copley led off with an infield single knocked down by the Granville Christian third baseman. Copley then stole second, his third stolen base of the day, and took third on a ground out by sophomore first baseman Matt Gray.

Sophomore third baseman Matthew Gessner drew a walk, then stole second, and with two out, Copley scored and Gessner took third on a wild pitch. The Eagles could not get the other runner home, though, as the next batter was called out on strikes.

Granville ended things early with a seven runs off Gray, who relieved Copley in the top of the fifth, then retired the Eagles in order in the bottom half to close the deal.

Copley took the defeat, allowing eight earned runs, 11 hits and a walk, but was around the strike zone all day and finished with eight strikeouts. Gray allowed seven earned runs, three hits and five walks with one strikeout.

Granville Christian’s Jon Benvie had three singles and the Lions’ Cameron Maierle drove in four runs. Caleb Satterfield worked three innings and struck out eight to earn the win on the mound.