Meridian Star

March 28, 2014

Meridian drops fifth straight in sloppy game versus Brandon

By Reed DeSalvo \ The Meridian Star
The Meridian Star

— The Meridian High School baseball team continued its recent struggles of late as Brandon High School surged past the Wildcats, 13-6, in District 6-5A action Thursday at Q.V. Sykes Park.  

MHS has now lost five consecutive games.

“It’s just being undisciplined,” Meridian coach Robert “Popeye” Cole said. “Going up (to the plate) and swinging at bad pitches, then when (the umpire) calls you out on a strike, they want to get upset about what he calls. If you swing at strikes, then you have nothing to worry about.”

Meridian’s struggles were on full display Thursday as the the Wildcats committed four errors and the pitching staff walked a combined seven batters.

“We’re not playing how we’re supposed to play,” Cole said. “We’re not pitching like how we’re supposed to be. Pitching is mental, and it’s the most important position on the field. That’s been the big problem, walking people.

“Any letdown on that mound is going to impact the whole ball game.”  

Sophomore pitcher Chad Butcher tossed the full seven innings for the Bulldogs (12-4, 3-1) in earning the win.

“I was proud of him tonight,” Brandon coach Stacy Hester said. “He had some tough early innings, but battled through them. He ended up allowing a few more runs, but they were unearned.”

Meridian (4-10, 0-4) had jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage to start the game.

Brandon’s Jackson Mitchell smashed a first inning home run to open the game, but Meridian responded emphatically in the bottom half of the frame. J’Mar Smith roped a single, and Corey Davis followed with a walk. Aaron Garrett provided the big blow as the Wildcat third baseman launched a three-run home run to left to put Meridian ahead.   

Yet Meridian would not hold onto the lead for long, as the visiting Bulldogs answered with a five-run rally in the second.

In the third, Brandon tacked on single run when second baseman Erick Hoard blasted a home run to left.

“We’ve got a real good offensive team this year,” Hester said. “The top to middle of the order is pretty good. We just had some scoring opportunities, and some guys came through with some big hits. Getting the kids to capitalize on (Meridian’s) errors and walks, I was proud of that.”

Daniel Richards managed to keep the Wildcats within striking distance with a pair of run-producing base hits in the fourth and fifth, but Brandon ended all doubt in the seventh.

With Meridian trailing 8-6, The Bulldogs scored five runs, highlighted by Hunter Wilson’s single to right that scored two runs. The rally was aided by six walks and two wild pitches, which scored two more runs. The final run of the inning was scored on a bases-loaded walk.

“We’ve got to start playing competitive baseball,” Cole said. “There isn’t a team that we’ve played that is more talented than us, but when you have all that talent and you can’t put it together, it’s not going to work.”

Added senior first baseman Corey Davis, “We have to start playing as a team and just stay together. If somebody makes an error, we have to pick them and don’t let them get down.

“We have to keep everyone’s spirits up, and if we do that then we will be alright.” asfdasdfadsfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdf

Meridian travels to Ellisville Saturday for a doubleheader against South Jones High School.