The Attica baseball team traveled to Rockville to face the host Rox in the opening game of the sectional and saw their season end in a 13-1 loss.
The Red Ramblers, under a new coach in Kyle Neal and with just one senior in Mason Hartman, had a season where they were trying to learn how to play the game in a new fashion.
“Every coach has his way of doing things,” Neal said earlier in the season, “and I’m trying to get them to play mine. I’m pleased that the team is doing their best and buying into what we’re trying to teach them, but it’s going to take a while to get to where we need to be.”
Throughout the season, the Ramblers indeed have improved, but going up against a solid, though somewhat young Rockville team, they found out, according to Neal, that there is more work to do.
The sectional opener started off well as Eli Kirkpatrick led off with a single and Cade Walker singled to left field, but the Ramblers could not force a run across before picking up their third out.
Rockville, in the top of the second, managed to score three times, taking advantage of a walk, two hit batsmen and then bunting once and hitting a pair of singles to take the 3-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, Jorden Douglass walked for Attica and stole second, but ended up stranded on that base.
The Rox doubled their lead in the top of the third, using a walk, double, a single and an Attica throw that let a runner advance to make it 6-0.
Attica went down in order in the third, but Rockville did the same in the top of the fourth.
In their half of the fourth, the Ramblers got their leadoff batter aboard when Brian Dobbels reached on an error.
DJ Burris sacrifice bunted Dobbels to second and then Jacob Demumbrum fought off several pitches to draw a walk to put runners on first and second with just the one out.
Mason Hartman came up and hit a hard drive, but it went right to the shortstop who flipped the ball to third to force Dobbels and let Demumbrum and Hartman reach second and first, respectively.
Neal then elected to have his team execute a double steal which the Rox did not handle properly, allowing Demumbrum to not only reach third but also cross the plate to make the score 6-1.
The next batter was the third out and the Rox came up in the top of the fifth.
The hosts scored seven runs in the inning, taking advantage of three walks, a hit batsman, and an Attica error to go along with a pair of singles, a double and a sacrifice fly to go up 13-1.
To keep the game going, Attica had to score at least three runs in the bottom of the fifth, but they only got one runner, Kirkpatrick, on base and that via a Rockville error before making the third out to see the game and their season end.
Neal blamed the loss on mistakes in the field, saying, “If you can’t play defense, you can’t win games.”
He also noted that his two pitchers hit four batters, “and that’s four extra base runners for them.”
Looking at the positives over the past season and looking toward the next, Neal was more upbeat, saying, “We improved our baseball knowledge this year – and for some guys we were building from ground zero – but we got better. Next year we need to keep improving, but we also need to get stronger.”
Neal closed by saying, “If our young guys continue to buy in, we’ll get better and maybe next year at this time, we can have a different conversation.”