PLAS Patriots fall on road to No. 2 Glenwood

Published 10:32 pm Saturday, April 11, 2009

The No. 3 Pike Liberal Patriots could not get the timely hitting needed to overtake the No. 2 Glenwood Gators on the road Friday afternoon. The Patriots lost 2-1 even though they outhit the Gators 10-3.

“We have to find a way to get runners in when we have them on third base,” PLAS head coach Butch Austin said. “We left the bases loaded three times and we cannot do that if we want to win games.”

Will Starling kept the Patriots (12-3, 7-2 AISA Class 3A, Region 1) in the game with a two-run, three-hit performance on the mound, but Pike could not give him the support he needed at the plate. Starling also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double.

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Blake Thomas hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the sixth inning to score Evan Strother, who was running for Alex Adams, for the only Patriot run in the game.

Glenwood took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and four walks in the third inning pushed across another run for the 2-0 lead.

Starling had trouble with control in the first half of the game, but he settled down and retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced in the game.

“Will pitched a great game out there and he definitely pitched good enough to get a win,” Austin said. “But we just couldn’t get a hit when we needed one. Will was a little rusty in the beginning because it has been a long time since he pitched with his sore back, but he was great down the stretch.”

Starling allowed two runs on three hits, struck out six batters and allowed five walks.

To contend for a state title, the Patriots need to start hitting the ball in clutch situations, Austin said.

“We have to hit the ball the same whether we are facing the No. 2 team or we are facing an unranked opponent,” he said.

The Patriots compiled eight hits to Glenwood’s three. In the inning they scored their only run, the Patriots had the bases loaded with no outs. They stranded runners in the bases loaded situation on two other occasions and had 10 runners left on base total for the game.

Alex Adams was 2-for-4 at the plate and Bradley Floyd, Justin McLaughlin, Logan Stewart and Sam Carroll each had one hit. Carroll’s hit was a double.

The Patriots have four region games scheduled for the upcoming week. They travel to Auburn for a third shot at Lee Scott tomorrow. The Patriots have not beaten the No. 5 Warriors yet this season in two tries.

Pike will host the final three region games of the season before the AISA State Playoffs begin April 24-25.

The Patriots host Glenwood Wednesday, No. 6 Fort Dale Friday and Taylor Road Saturday. All games this week are scheduled for 3:30 p.m.