Prep Baseball: Danville falls to Covington Holy Cross 7-1 in All 'A' sectional game
Danville¿s Rhodes Bell is tagged out by Holy Cross catcher Jeff Guidugli in the second inning of the Admirals¿ 7-1 loss in an All ¿A¿ Classic sectional game Wednesday. (Mike Marsee / April 26, 2012)
The ninth-ranked Admirals have hung their hats on pitching and defense this season, but their strengths became their weaknesses on this night, and that kept them out of the All “A” Classic once again.
They committed five errors and their best pitcher was roughed up in a 7-1 loss to Covington Holy Cross in an All “A” sectional game at Admiral Field.
“Tonight was one of those nights where it was just our luck,” Danville coach Paul Morse said.
The luck was all bad for Danville (15-4), which lost for the third time in five games after winning 13 of its first 14 games and will miss the All “A” state tournament for the fifth consecutive year.
The Admirals had four defensive miscues in the first four innings, and that made things much tougher for pitcher Rob Caudill, who gave up six hits but didn’t allow a single earned run.
“Rob threw well enough,” Morse said. “When he had to come out (due to)¿his pitch count because we couldn’t field the ball or throw the ball, we should’ve been up 1-0. Instead of having 96 pitches, he should have had about 76. You’re not going to win many games with (five) errors — and a couple other mental errors.”
Three Danville runners were thrown out on the basepaths in the first three innings before Holy Cross pitcher Blake Tiberi, whose teammates played errorless defense behind him, retired the last 12 batters he faced.
Holy Cross coach Mike Holtz said pitching and defense have been just as important to the Indians as they are to Danville.
“It’s been a key for us, too,” Holtz said. “When we’re at our best, we get good pitching and we catch the ball, and that’s what we were able to do tonight.”
Holy Cross (15-5)¿made the plays Danville couldn’t, even on a field soaked by rain that fell through most of the game. Morse noted that the Indians turned three hard-hit ground balls into outs in the sixth inning, and two infielders fought off the raindrops to pull in popups in the second half of the game.
After a 47-minute delay caused by Holy Cross’ late arrival — one of its two team buses broke down during the trip — Danville’s defensive woes started with a two-out error in the first inning, which was immediately followed by two-run home run by Holy Cross’ Kyle Fuller.
An error allowed the Indians’ leadoff batter to reach base in the second inning, and a throwing error on the back end of a double-play attempt led to an extra base. Connor Callery rapped a two-run single later in the inning to give Holy Cross a 4-1 lead, and he singled and scored on another throwing error on another double-play attempt in the fourth inning to make it 5-1.
By the end of that inning, Caudill’s pitch count had climbed to 89, and he pitched only one more inning.
Caudill struck out eight batters to raise his season total to 85, and his earned-run average actually fell to 0.68. But he gave up six hits after allowing only 15 in 36 1/3 previous innings, and his record slipped to 5-2.
“We knew facing Caudill that he was going to be very, very good, and we had to take advantage of any opportunity we had,” Holtz said.
The Indians tacked on two runs in the sixth inning off reliever Austin Baxter before Nick Serey came on to throw 1 1/3 hitless innings.
Tiberi allowed four hits, including doubles by Andrew Lasure, Rhodes Bell and Dowell Harmon, and he struck out five batters and walked three to help Holy Cross reach the All “A” state tourney for the second time in four years. He had already thrown 96 pitches when he went to the mound for the seventh inning, but he needed only 11 more to finish off Danville.
“He said, ‘Coach, I¿want to finish.’ I said, ‘All right, you’re on a short leash,’”¿Holtz said. “Blake’s done a great job for us this year.”
Lasure’s two-out double in the first inning led to Danville’s only run, as pinch-runner Jay Hunn stole third base and scored when Harmon got caught in a rundown between first and second.
Bell led off the second inning with a double but was later thrown out at home plate when he tried to score on a fly ball that fell between two Holy Cross players in short right field, and Caudill was caught stealing second base for the third out of the third inning.
“We knew that they were going to have some good pitching, and getting behind early took us out of being able to do some things,” Morse said.
With the All “A” off their schedule, Morse said the Admirals will now focus on their remaining 45th District game Monday at Lincoln County and on preparing for the postseason.
“We’ve got three weeks left to go, and now it’s just about getting better every day in those three weeks and getting ready the postseason,” he said.
Danville has added a home game to its schedule today against Mercer County. The Admirals will host the Titans at 5:30 p.m. in a rematch of a game that Danville won 2-0 on March 22.
Covington Holy Cross 220 102 0 — 7 7 0
Danville 100 000 0 — 1 4 5
Blake Tiberi and Jeff Guidugli. Rob Caudill, Austin Baxter (6), Nick Serey (6) and Andrew Lasure. W—Tiberi. L—Caudill. 2B—Tiberi (HC), Lasure (D), Rhodes Bell (D), Dowell Harmon (D). HR—Kyle Fuller (HC).