By Maurice Patton
LYNNVILLE – With four freshman starters, it’d be an understatement to call Mt. Pleasant baseball a work in progress.
So first-year coach Kennedy Mathis is trying to take outings like Tuesday’s in stride – but it, and this season, are at times a struggle.
In the second game of their District 10-A series with Richland, the Tigers opened the game with three straight baserunners.
They followed with three straight strikeouts, didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning and dropped an 8-1 decision as the Raiders swept the series following Monday’s 3-1 win at Mt. Pleasant.
“We didn’t put together competitive at-bats. That’s the game,” Mathis said after his team fell to 4-5 (1-3) with its third straight loss.
Despite being held to one hit – Ryan Clark’s single – the Tigers managed to strand 10 against Richland’s mound combination of Austin Schrengost, Landon Griggs and Bryce Miller. Seven of those runners were in scoring position, including a bases-loaded situation in the fourth in addition to the first.
“We left eight (on base) Monday,” Mathis said. “(That’s) 18 in two games. That’s a lot of guys left out there.”
After an infield error and back-to-back walks to start the game, Schrengost was lifted in favor of Griggs, who put out the fire and then put his team ahead with an RBI base hit in the bottom of the first.
Richland (7-4, 2-0) broke the game open in the third inning, scoring four runs on a hit and three Tiger errors. Mt. Pleasant picked up its only run in the top of the fourth, when Clark’s flyball to left field was mishandled, allowing Kobe Dowell to score, but the Raiders countered with a three-run rally in their next at-bat.
“It was 1-1 in the sixth (Monday). They stayed back and hit a blooper in the hole and scored,” Mathis said. “They found a way to win. We didn’t.
‘They’re a good team. I think we’re a good team, too. I think we didn’t show it these last couple of days. We didn’t show what we can do.”
Mathis chalked up the woes to “growing pains”.
“We’ve seen a lot of progress,” he said. “We’re growing through the growing pains, figuring out how to win games.”
Schrengost had a single and a double and Griggs drove in a pair of runs to lead Richland offensively, as Clark and Hayden Holt held the hosts to just five hits.
Mt. Pleasant is next scheduled to face Middle Tennessee Christian at the Summertown/Lawrenceburg Tournament, facing the Cougars Thursday before playing Colllinwood Friday; both games are at Summertown. Richland is also set to play Wayne County, Collinwood and Lawrence County in the same tournament.
Richland 8, Mt. Pleasant 1
M 000 100 0 – 1 1 4
R 104 300 x – 8 5 3
Ryan Clark, Hayden Holt (4) and Kevin Reed. Austin Schrengost, Landon Griggs (1), Bryce Miller (4) and Landon Griggs, Houston Cheek (1), Griggs (4). W: Griggs. L: Clark.