Patriots fall to Senators 8-7, ending season

Published 11:43 pm Saturday, April 18, 2015

With the Patriots and Senators splitting the series, a third game was played and the Morgan Acadmey were named winners of the contest with a Senator victory over the Patriots.

The Patriots fell to the Senators 8-7 after a seventh inning rally from the Pats that ultimately left two men on base.

Head coach Allen Ponder said the team had not been able to get their bats going after the conclusion of the first game Saturday, and that was ultimately what contributed to the Pats’ loss.

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“We came out and played well in the first game and it obviously continued today,” Ponder said. “We did what we needed to do win game one 12-3, and when you look at it and you think that’s going to give you momentum going into the next game, but I tell you what, I take my hat off to Morgan. Morgan did a great job. They were very scrappy. Their guy came out and threw a great second game and got the hits when they needed them. They beat us in the second game and game three was much of the same.”

After having their first game postponed due to rain, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots and Morgan Academy Senators changed their playing venue for their two-game series playing on Troy University’s field.

The Patriots made quick work of the Senators coming into the first game in the bottom of the fourth bases loaded already leading the senators 4-2 with no outs.

While head coach for the Patriots Allen Ponder had anticipated the Patriots tacking on more runs in the fourth, the Pats only put one on the board during that inning. However, the Patriots’ biggest inning game in the bottom of the sixth when the Troy team was able to tack six more runs up against the Senators countering the one run the Selma team had been able to get in the top of the sixth off of a Jackson Henderson RBI single.

Starting off the bottom of the sixth, Tucker Johnson earned a walk for the Patriots and Morgan withdrew their Saturday starter on the mound Bishop Price. Price was replaced with Henderson. Henderson walked five of the 10 batters he saw in the bottom of the sixth and was ultimately pulled out and replaced with closer Woodham Kemmer, the Senators lead-off hitter.

Sawyer McKenzie came in for the Pats as a designated runner for Johnson, and quickly made his way to third base stealing second and third on a dropped ball from the Morgan catcher and a wild pitch from Henderson.

With bases loaded after the Patriots drew another walk from Keegan Simmons, Tyler Hussey laid down a bunt and Murphy Renfroe singles, Rush Hixon hits a base-clearing triple for the Patriots only escalating the momentum of the inning. Hixon’s triple is followed by a line-drive double from Hayes Lee, which batted in Hixon.

The next three batters in the Pats line up are walked, and the inning comes to a close after Simmons strikes out looking and Adam Grice, who reached base on a walk, is out at third.

The top of the seventh came for the Senators and while the Selma team attempted to get things started, the team left two men on base after a shortstop to first base play from Hixon to Bailey Renfroe ending the first contest with the Pats winning 12-3.

The Patriots and Senators began game two just shortly after the conclusion of game one, and fell to the Senators 4-3 in a close contest of the bats for both teams.

For the third game, Ponder had senior Drew Starling start on the mound for the Pats, and Ponder said he was proud of the outing Starling had on the mound.

“I thought Drew Starling threw the ball well, but Morgan just barreled the ball up,” Ponder said. “They barreled the ball all day long and at the end of the game at the end of the day that’s what you can attribute to the loss. They swung it better than we swung it. That’s a tough one to swallow but at the same time I will not take any credit away from them because today they deserved it.”

Defensively, Ponder said the Patriots had been doing the job he expected out of them, and said he knew after having gone against Morgan’s pitchers the Patriots had played the game they could.

“We did a good job,” Ponder said. “I don’t knock anything we did defensively. I don’t knock any of the calls that we made. Offensively today, we just did not find many barrels. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve done a good job of barreling up the baseball and coming into today, we just couldn’t find the barrel. That’s part of the game. That’s the cruel side of baseball. Morgan’s pitchers made some good pitches. They weren’t there to overpower us. They were there to pitch to contact, and they did a good job of pitching to contact. They did their job.”

The 8-7 loss to the Senators marked the end of the Patriots’ season, and for the senior team members the end of their high school baseball career. Ponder said the loss against the Senators hurt, but acknowledging the loss of the seniors hurt worse.

“That’s the biggest downfall of this, you hate to lose, but when it comes to high school baseball you’ve always got to say goodbye to seniors after that last game,” Ponder said. “This was really hard because we’ve got such a good group. Our seniors have led us all year long and they’ve done a good job leading us. I’m hurting because we loss, but I’m really hurting for those guys. I’m going to hate to see them go. I told those guys to leave with their heads up because they’ve led us all year. They carried us, they’ve done a great job of doing that. They have nothing to be ashamed of.”