Missed opportunities can haunt a team. And on Monday at the Ed Myer Complex, Meadville was plagued by a few ghosts of runs unscored during a 6-2 season-opening loss to Titusville.
“That’s something that we’ve been discussing, taking advantage of opportunities, especially early in a game,” said Meadville head coach Joe Hruska, “because those accumulate. And when you don’t capitalize, and don’t capitalize, you let the other team hang around.”
Titusville spent most of the game trailing, but then rang up three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to pull in front.
“It took us awhile to get started (Monday),” said Titusville head coach Roy Schweitzer, whose Rockets improved to 2-0 with the win. “I thought Alex (Glatch) pitched great for Meadville. He kept the ball down and mixed his pitches well. I’m pretty impressed with the Meadville squad over there.
“They had a couple base-running mistakes. And early in the season, that stuff happens.”
Glatch did pitch well. Through five innings, he allowed three runs on five hits and struck out six.
The Rockets finally caught up to him in the fifth, however. Left fielder Ethan Rapp got things going with a one-out single. Then with two outs, Glatch beaned center fielder Adam Bleday. Shortstop Robby Johnson then singled to shallow right-center to score Rapp. And pitcher Luke Hipple pushed the Rockets into the lead with a two-run double to deep right-center.
“Hipple, he always seems to bite us,” said Hruska. “Whether its in the beginning of the game or the end of a game, he always seems to put a dagger in us.”
Titusville added three more runs in the sixth against MASH reliever Matt Thompson. Rapp had a two-run double to finish the day 2-for-3 out of the No. 8 spot. And right fielder Zach Foltz followed up Rapp’s double with an RBI single to dead center.
Then in the seventh, Hipple yielded a base hit to Colton McCurdy with two outs. But he ended up striking out the other three batters he faced in the inning, finishing off a complete-game victory with two unearned runs on eight hits, two walks and eight Ks.
“You’ve got to give Luke some credit,” said Schweitzer. “He’s an old vet out there. This is his senior year. And he’s been through the wars with us. And he hung in there until we finally started hitting the ball.”
Meadville, meanwhile, was lamenting a couple missed chances from earlier in the game. For example, second baseman Ted Williams led off the first with a double. Later at third base he hesitated trying to take home on a passed ball and was tagged out at the plate by Hipple.
Then in the third inning, right fielder Brock Biggs led off with a single. And later at third, he attempted to pilfer home on a double steal, but left a little too early, and catcher Jayce Corklin swallowed up Biggs on the base path.
“We ran ourselves out of some innings,” said Hruska. “I made some poor base-running decisions and it end up costing us.
“We’ve got some kinks to work out. And we’ll have a chance to do that. We have a lot of games coming up in a short time. Hopefully we can work those out down south.”
At the plate for Meadville, Williams was 2-for-4 with a double. He scored both of the Bulldogs’ runs. In the third, he reached on an error and scored on a single by Terence Goodrum. Then in the fifth, Williams led off with a single up the middle and later scored on a Titusville error.
Goodrum was also 2-for-4 with a double.
Glatch was 2-for-3 at the plate.
Note: Meadville’s next four games will take place in Sparta, Tenn., during the Highland Rim Easter Invitational. The Bulldogs open the event on Thursday against Grundy County.