Baseball is a complex game that can be simplified in one “Bull Durham” movie quote: “You throw the ball. You catch the ball. You hit the ball.”
Fayette more than struggled with the first two of those baseball aspects, committing a whopping 12 errors that led to 14 unearned Hilltop runs in a 15-7 Buckeye Border Conference loss to the Cadets.
Three of those errors helped the Cadets take a 2-0 lead on Eagles’ starter Tanner Wagner in the second.
Hilltop starter Chase Whitman doubled on a ball that probably could’ve been caught in center, then rode home on a throwing error in a rundown when Wagner picked him off second.
Lucas Jacobs then tripled to right and scored on yet another Eagles’ fielding miscue.
However, Fayette came right back in their half of the inning scoring five times — some of which were courtesy of some shoddy Cadet fielding.
Chase Moats and TJ Molitierno walked, then with one down, Owen Lemley’s bouncer to third was misplayed into two Eagle runs to tie the game.
Wyatt Mitchell singled to right and Shane Maginn drew a walk before Wagner bounced a single through the left side to plate two more Fayette runs, and after a wild pitch, the Eagles held a 5-2 lead.
However, the wheels came off in the fourth as Hilltop scored seven times on five hits, four Fayette errors and two Wagner strikeouts that reached base on a wild pitch and passed ball.
Ian Huffman’s two-run single was the big blow in the inning that also saw Evan Schoonover and Isaac Baumgartner loop run-scoring hits just over the Eagles’ infield to help the Cadets take a 9-5 lead.
Fayette got one back when Wagner singled for his third hit of the day and Jayden Fairfield launched a triple over the right fielder’s head to get the Eagles within 9-6 after four.
But again the defense let the Eagles down in the fifth as Hilltop converted four more Fayette errors into five runs on just two hits.
Maginn worked a creditable last two innings for the Eagles, allowing another unearned run in the sixth and just two hits while striking out three.
Wagner tallied the last Eagle run when his fly ball to left was lost for a double and he came in to score on Fairfield’s grounder.
Wagner deserved much better on the mound as he walked two and struck out seven in his four plus innings of work.
Connor Schlosser took the win in relief of Whitman, allowing two runs on three hits in his five and a third innings of relief.
The same two teams play in another BBC game at Hilltop Thursday afternoon.