FREDERICKTOWN — The Fredericktown Freddies plated four runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth, then held on to defeat visiting Centerburg, 10-8, in Mid-Buckeye Cenference baseball action on Wednesday.
“You’ve got to give Centerburg a lot of credit,” said Fredericktown coach Matt Smith. “They battled every pitch and every inning. They got the wood on the ball and they pressured us.”
The Freddies were down, 4-2, in the third when Freddies’ starting pitcher Thomas Hinkle wriggled out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam.
“I hung some pitches and they hit them in the gaps,” said Hinkle. “I setteled down and threw my curveball for a strike, and that got me out of the inning.”
“One thing about Tommy is that he is a great competitor,” said Smith. “He didn’t have his best stuff this time, but I thought that he did a real good job batting and gave us five solid innings. I though his teammates did a real nice job of keeping him in the game.”
Hinkle stepped up in the bottom of the inning and blasted a shot over the left field fence to pull the Freddies to within a run, 4-3.
“I just took it out on the ball,” said Hinkle. “I swung as hard as I could and I got it over the fence.”
Fredericktown almost took the lead later in the inning when second baseman Nick Chilcote hit a fly to short center field with a pair of runners on base. Centerburg center fielder Luke Donaldson made a diving catch to snuff out the Freddies’ threat.
The Trojans got another run in the top of the fourth, then the Freddies took control.
With two-run doubles by Hinkle and right fielder Cameron Moore, the Freddies jumped ahead, 7-5.
“I figured that I got us into this mess and I might as well help get us out of it,” said Hinkle.
The Trojans were not giving up without a fight, coming back with two more in the fifth on a two-run single by relief pitcher Justin Long to tie it at 7.
Unfortunately for Long and the rest of the Trojans, they gave up too many walks at the wrong time. After the Freddies loaded the bases in the fifth, Centerburg replaced Long with Collin Borden, then Jacob Anderson, before finally getting out of the inning, but not before walking in three runs.
Centerburg right fielder Nick Mazgay led the Trojan offense with a pair of hits, a walk and a run scored. Shortstop Ryan Burke also got two hits and scored once. The problem was not in the Trojan bats, nor was it in their work ethic.
“Just way too many walks,” said Centerburg coach Joe Smith. “You’ve got to make them swing the bats. We had too many walks against a good team. You can’t give them any opportunities. They came out, played hard and put it to us. We also left too many runners on base.
“We’ve got a good group of kids and we’re playing hard. We’ve just got to make better decisions now. It’s a lack of varsity experience.”
The Fredericktown batters took advantage throughout the game, working deep into the pitch count and relaxing at the plate — even when they were down a couple of runs.
“A big part of Fredericktown baseball is our discipline at the plate,” said Matt Smith. “I thought that we did a nice job of staying within ourselves and not swinging at bad pitches.”
Up 10-7, Matt Smith lifted Hinkle for lefty C.J. Ruhl, who gave up a run in the final two innings to ice the win for the Freddies.