Looking to Bounce Back

After the routing that the boys in purple experienced last week they took to the field again this week with the goal of distancing themselves from the memory of that defeat.  Facing off against AAC rival Mill Springs, Cougar ballers were itching to prove that they were much better than they had previously displayed.  Having not lost to Mill Springs in seven years, the pressure was on the boys of spring to rise to the challenge of the TCS winning tradition.

Dominant Pitching + Aggressive Base-running = Success

In the 2022 season home opener this week, the Cougars welcomed Mill Springs on a beautiful day for baseball at Roswell Area Park.  Looking to find themselves in the win column, the team turned to Ben Johnson to continue his success on the mound and corral the Mustangs at the plate.  Following his solid work against CCA last week, Ben wasted no time getting to work as he set down the first three batters he faced with strikeouts and only using twelve pitches!

In the bottom half of the first inning, the Cougars decided that it was time to come alive offensively as 13 players came to the plate and 10 made their way around the bases and back home again.  Starting off the game in the leadoff spot, Caden Henderson quickly found himself on first after he worked a four-pitch walk.  Itching to get his team their first lead of the season, Caden soon found his way back to the plate as two stolen bases and a heads-up play on a passed ball put the Cougars up to an early 1-0 lead.  With the bases clean again, Weston Kershner worked a bases-loaded count before singling up the middle and advancing to second on an error by the Mill Springs first baseman.  A few pitches later, Weston too would find his way home as he steals home and the lead increases to 2-0.  After a walk and another stolen base by Ben Johnson, the stage was set for Braden Kramer to break the game wide open with an RBI double and a 3-0 lead with no outs.  Following Braden, both Aidan Briggs and Alex Hogg reach base via a dropped third strike and a hit by pitch, respectively leaving the bases loaded.  After a strikeout to Anthony Kovach, Jack Kane came to the plate in his first at bat of the season and recorded an RBI single as he got Braden to come home and move the others up 90 feet.  As if there had not been enough fireworks in the first inning, a walk to Jack McGrew would give the Cougars two on base and the top of the lineup coming to the plate.  Looking to pick up where he left off, Caden rips a 3-1 fastball for a single and clears the bases but immediately swipes second before another pitch could even be thrown! In similar fashion to their last at bats, both Caden and Weston proved to be too much to handle on the base path and took advantage of the miscommunication between the Mill Springs battery as both would come around to score again.  Two batters later, the TCS aggressive strategy did come to bite them as a nice single from Ben was erased when he was doubled up on a pop fly by Braden to end the inning.  FINALLY, the first inning comes to a close with the good guys up 10-0.

In the top of the second, the middle of the Mill Springs order came up looking to cut the deficit as their cleanup hitter crushed an 0-2 fastball all the way to the right-field fence for a triple.  Unfortunately for him, however, baserunning miscues saw him get rung up trying to extend the play and steal home.  Not letting the burst of life from the ponies rattle him, Ben went back to work on the Mustang offense.  Although he narrowly missed a strikeout to the Mustang catcher and allowed him to coax a walk, he was able to catch him sleeping on the base path for out number two before ending the inning with yet another strikeout.

Leading off the bottom of the second, Aidan followed up his first at bat with a great job stepping into an 0-1 pitch and finding his way to first.  Aidan proceeded to steal two consecutive bases on the next two pitches before getting doubled up on a questionable call after an Alex Hog flyout to center.  While coaches are still scratching their heads on how Aidan was not safe, the game had to continue.  Next up to the plate was Anthony who was looking to redeem himself from his first inning strikeout by crushing a solid double and scoring on two more passed balls.  The Cougars would score one more runner in the second before ending it with a Jack McGrew strikeout.  After two innings of play, the TCS lead had been extended to 12.

With only 27 pitches under his belt Ben headed back to the mound to start off the third inning, facing off against the bottom of the Mill Springs order.  Despite working himself into a full count, the first Mustang was turned into glue via another Ben Johnson strikeout.  The next batter up, the Mustang first baseman, worked his way into a full count before drawing a walk.  With one runner on and one out Ben fired three straight fastballs for strikes and in the blink of an eye there were two down.  From this point things get a little confusing as an error and a passed ball had the first runner tagged out for the final out of the inning, but the umpiring crew decided to give Mill Springs some bonus baseball as play continued.  This is when Ben chose to take things into his own hands and record yet another strikeout to end the inning.

Coming back up to the plate the Cougars picked up right where they left off.  Drawing walk after walk and running like crazy, the team scored three more runs and sent the Mustangs packing, care of a mercy-rule shut out.  Coaches both agree that it felt good to be on the winning side of the mercy rule this time and are looking to repeat next week as the team travels to Mill Springs for a rematch on Wednesday.

 

Game Stats Below

Box Score

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
MSA Mustangs 0 0 0 X X X X
TCS Cougars 10 2 3 X X X X

Batting

Player AB Runs Hits Walks RBI SB
5- Caden Henderson 1 3 1 2 2 3
3- Weston Kershner 1 3 1 0 0 1
11- Ben Johnson 1 2 1 2 0 3
8- Braden Kramer 3 0 1 1 2 0
2- Aidan Briggs 1 1 0 1 0 4
12- Alex Hogg 1 1 0 0 0 0
1- Anthony Kovach 3 1 2 0 0 0
14- Jack Kane 1 2 1 1 1 1
0- Jack McGrew 1 2 0 1 0 0
6- Sam Bayer 0 0 0 1 0 0

Pitching

Player IP H ER BB SO
11- Ben Johnson 3.0 1 0 2 7