By JOSH FRYE
News Sports Writer
J.U. Blacksher’s young baseball team had used a combination of dominating pitching, timely hitting and steady defense to earn a postseason slot. The Bulldogs got neither during an April 12 doubleheader and were swept by Cottage Hill Christian Academy in the AHSAA area championship series.
JUB remain alive in the playoff hunt despite losing to the Warriors by scores of 7-4 and 10-6.
“I am extremely proud of all the guys for the way that they competed,” head coach Justin Mixon said. “It was a tough series against a really good opponent, and we had our chances because these kids played so hard. This group of guys has gotten better as the season has progressed, and I am looking forward to seeing their energy and effort as we enter playoffs.”
The double defeat was a hard pill to swallow for the Bulldogs, especially after defeating the Warriors on April 11 in Uriah by a score of 5-0.
JUB right-hand pitcher, Landon Mura offered a stellar pitching performance during that contest, striking out 7 in 7 innings.
Tucker Spence hit a double and scored a run for the Bulldogs in that contest; Damon Rolin drove in a run; Mura walked three times and drove in a runner; Michael Redditt walked and doubled; Peyton Wilkins and Will Brown had sacrifice bunts; Jayce Sells drove in two runs and scored once, and Dawson Hollinger scored a run.
With the score of that game being one-sided, predictions were that Uriah would sweep by Cottage Hill with little problem. That wasn’t the case as the Warriors demonstrated that they still had some fight left.
The Bulldogs produced a good effort at the plate during game one of the double-header.
Spence was hit by two pitches and later scored; Mura singled, doubled and scored twice; Redditt singled and drove in a run; Wilkins singled twice and drove in a runner, and Brown scored a run after being hit by a pitch.
Despite the hitting efforts the Bulldogs came up short.
JUB didn’t slack off with the lumber during the second game and produced well at the plate. Unfortunately, the batting effort was not enough to subdue the Warriors.
Spence singled, walked three times, scored twice and drove in a runner; Rolin singled and drove a runner in; Mura and Wilkins scored and knocked in a run each; Brown had a sacrifice fly, and Redditt scored once and drove in a run. Sells and Daughtry drove in a run each, and Hollinger singled.
The Bulldogs, who had apparently overcome early fielding problems during recent games, had trouble in the field during both games against Clarke and couldn’t keep the Warriors from touching home plate.
With the losses, the Bulldogs secured the area runner-up slot and will travel to play Leroy High this Friday (April 19) to face the Bears in a first-round double-header. Game times are set for 2: p.m. and 4:30 p.m.