The players and fans thought Connor Hurst was safe. The umpires didn’t agree.
Hurst’s slide into home potentially to tie Augusta’s game with Buhler in the seventh inning was denied. Buhler made a good defensive play to preserve a 4-3 win in the opener of the Oriole baseball team’s home doubleheader Monday.
“He was out. We were trying to get a run in, making them make a play,”?coach Doug Jefferson said. “He had to make a good play on it and he did.”
Logan Hiser returned the favor in the nightcap. He threw a six-out save to keep a Buhler rally in check to give Augusta an 8-6 win for the split.
Both teams got off to big starts in their win. Buhler scored an unearned run in the first inning after the Orioles made a bad throw on an attempted double play. The Crusaders took control in the third with three straight hits and a misplay by the Oriole outfield to take a 4-0 lead.
Augusta got back a couple of those runs in its half of the third. Dalton Wheat hit a double and later scored a run. Joe Cannady hit a single and scored, Logan Hiser hit a single and Hurst drew a walk and later scored during the inning. Augusta trailed 4-3 heading into the seventh.
Hurst, a speedy freshman, represented the tying run in the final inning. He worked his way around to third base with one out.
Michael Albright hit a grounder, and Hurst took off. He thought he was safe when he slid home. The relay throw was high, and Buhler’s catcher had a long way to go to tag him while sliding. But he was called out, and Buhler later got one more out for the win.
Tough way to lose a game, but that wasn’t what bothered Jefferson the most.
“It was more frustrating that we couldn’t adjust to their pitcher before three innings,” he said.
In the nightcap, it was the Orioles’ turn to start with a big inning early. Augusta batted around the order in the first inning and scored five runs. Wheat, Cannady, Hiser and Joey Paul all had singles. Albright lined an RBI?triple, and Schenker and Tyler Bond drew walks during the inning.
After the first loss, Jefferson decided to change plans and throw Kolton Schenker as long as he could go in Game 2 instead of possibly saving him for Thursday’s crucial doubleheader with Mulvane.
Schenker pitched well for most of the game. He finished with five strikeouts and kept Buhler under control through the first few innings. But the Crusaders’ 2 and 3 hitters couldn’t be stopped as they tried to get a rally going.
Buhler closed the gap to 7-4 in the fourth, then added two more in the fifth. The Orioles didn’t help themselves when they missed a tag on the second-base bag that otherwise would’ve ended the inning. Buhler made Augusta pay by roping a 2-RBI double on the next at-bat to pull Buhler within a run at 7-6.
“Game 2 was the exact opposite of Game 1,”?Jefferson said. “We jumped out to an early lead, but we didn’t make plays. We allowed them two runs here, two runs there, and before you know it, it’s a one-run ball game. We just got to put everything together.”
Augusta added an insurance run in the sixth after Wheat crushed a sacrifice fly to deep left field, allowing Schenker to tack on the run.
Hiser threw three strikeouts in the final two innings to get the save.
JV team gets a split
Augusta’s junior varsity baseball team got a split, beating Buhler 7-3 in the opener before losing 6-2.
Ian Rogers paced the Orioles by going a combined 4 for 6 with 2 RBIs. Mason Hiser threw nine strikeouts and picked up the win, the second of the season for the Orioles.