Hopewell Takes Step Back In Loss To Meadowbrook
By Blake Belden, staff writer
May 12, 2014, 14:45
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
With the season waning toward tournament time, the Hopewell varsity baseball team must find their offensive niche if they want to make a push for a championship, and Thursday night's 11-4 loss to Meadowbrook showcased the roadblocks that the Blue Devils must surpass in the next few weeks.
"[Meadowbrook] continued to put the ball in play, and put the pressure on our defense to make plays, and we just didn't make enough plays," said head coach Bobby Pershing, emphasizing the team's necessity to accomplish more on the offense to win games.
Hopewell has had difficulty this season forcing multiple runs in the same inning, and although the Blue Devils were able to get three runs in the fifth inning on Thursday night, they only had four runs all game and it wasn't enough to answer Meadowbrook's offensive persistence.
"[Meadowbrook] just took the wind out of our sails. And as hyped as we were to get the runs in that [fifth] inning, Meadowbrook came right back and did what they needed to do," Pershing said, before conceding that the Monarchs outplayed them and deserved the win.
Hopewell, with four consecutive losses, didn't get on the board until the fourth inning, when Neeyamyah Nunez pushed Will Avery home with a strong hit, and failed to score again after three more runs in the fifth inning.
Travis Hogan, Cameron Hill and Trent Scott had one run each in the loss.
Jonathan Bunns pitched all seven innings for Meadowbrook, forcing nine strikeouts and giving up four runs off of eight hits.
Losing pitcher Trent Scott had five strikeouts through four innings, but was switched out in the middle of the fourth when Meadowbrook went on a scoring tear and earned six runs, a surge that pushed the lead to 7-1 and stifled Hopewell's home field comfort.
"After a while, it's tough to beat a team that's ahead by six or seven runs, and they're playing with all of the confidence," Pershing said.
Closing pitcher Will Avery finished up with three strikeouts through four innings, and gave up four runs in the final inning when Meadowbrook went on a last minute scoring push.
Pershing said that he warned his team prior to the game that even though Meadowbrook had not won a game coming into Thursday's matchup, they were going to come out hungry for their first win, therefore not to let the Monarchs' record ease their sense of competitive play.
Hopewell beat Meadowbrook 8-1 earlier in the season.
The Blue Devils are a young team with a shallow roster, and because of this Pershing doesn't necessarily care about wins and losses looking forward, but rather that the team never quits and continues to demonstrate a wealth of effort on the field.
"When we don't do things well and that leads to lack of hustle on the field, then that's when it gets frustrating as a coach," Pershing said. "We want to keep playing hard and hopefully when we get to the end of the season, we'll have a little momentum by improved play and be able to represent ourselves in the tournament."