About the only good thing going for Union following Friday’s 12-2 six-inning loss to Taylorsville in the second round of the MHSAA Class 2A baseball playoffs is the Yellowjackets were in a similar position in their opening-round series with North Forrest...and stayed alive.
In that series, Union lost the opener 12-4 before taking 8-3 and 10-3 victories.
“We’re in the same shoes,” said Union coach Justin Stovall. “We’re capable of coming back and winning two, as long as we play our baseball.
“We’ve just got to keep our heads up and battle and get it to the next game. You’ve got to take care of the first one and then worry about the second one when it comes.
“It can definitely be done and we’re going to give a fight.”
The Tartars scored four runs in the top of the first inning with Laine Jordan driving in two runs with a single. Zach Evans and Garrett Boykin both had a double.
“With the intensity being there and being ready to play and they put up a four spot on us, I think it kinda flattened us a little bit,” Stovall said. “But that’s the game of baseball. You’ve just got to be able to bounce back and overcome that.”
Winning pitcher Josh Pankratz added a solo home run to left field for a 5-0 lead in the second inning.
Pankratz made it 7-0 with a two-run blast to left in the fourth.
Evans added a solo home run to center field in the fifth.
Taylorsville added four more runs in the sixth with Fernando Hamilton getting an RBI triple and Jordan an RBI single.
Union’s Jay Thomas broke up the shutout with a two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth after a single by Jonathan Gibbs.
Taylorsville improved to 20-10 after being 10-10 at one point.
“They’re definitely a good team,” Stovall said of the Tartars.
Union fell to 21-8.
The 'Jackets had five hits with Thomas getting a single to go with his home run and Jamie Elliot adding a pair of singles.
Garrett Clark (7-4) took the loss, allowing eight runs on nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. He struck out six.
Pankratz (7-0) tossed a five-hit complete game to get the win. He struck out
five and allowed one walk to go with one hit batsman.
“That was one of his better games,” said Taylorsville coach Dusty Hillman. “He stayed in the zone the whole night. The only hits he gave up were mistakes and he didn’t make very many of them.”
Game 2 is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Taylorsville.
Union is expected to start either Gibbs (7-2) or Joseph Norton (5-1) on the mound.
“One of the two will be going,” Stovall said. “That will be a decision made closer to game time.”