If there was one thing that’s been missing from the Jonathan Alder baseball team’s DNA the last two years it has been mental toughness.
For as many games as the Pioneers have won the past two seasons, they’ve failed to make it to a Division II district championship despite being the tournament’s No. 1 seed each time.
This year however there seems to be a different vibe surrounding the team. A more confident bunch of players are on the field and their belief that they can win any game no matter what the scenario is paying off.
Alder (12-1) entered the seventh inning against visiting St. Francis DeSales trailing 4-1. The Pioneers however weren’t ready to lay down and accept the defeat. Instead they fought, and they fought. Alder scored three runs in the bottom in the seventh to force extra innings.
The Stallions scored one in the extra frame, but again Alder rallied scoring twice in the bottom of the eighth for a rewarding 6-5 walk-off win.
In the eighth the Pioneers had two outs before they started the game-winning rally. Evan Martin hit a bloop single to right, Nate Smith walked and Ian Gehres singled up the middle to tie the game. Cole Schrock walked to load the bases and Preston Eisnaugle delivered the game winning hit off the glove of the DeSales first baseman.
Golden Eagles baseball coach Zach Durban must feel like he’s reliving the same storyline game after game.
His Madison-Plains High School baseball team once again played a quality opponent tough for the majority of a game Monday, but one disastrous inning turned a competitive contest into a one-sided outcome.
“Tyler Gibbs pitched very well for us tonight and once again deserved a better outcome,” Durban said. “We only got three hits but threatened twice earlier in the game and came up empty. I give Fairbanks pitcher credit for throwing a very good game. We played solid for six innings tonight other than offense, but fell apart in the top of the seventh.
The Golden Eagles seventh inning included four errors which led to a total of six Panthers unearned runs.
“Fairbanks is too good of a team to just give away runs,” he said. “They capitalized on our mistakes. It continues to be frustrating to know that we can play with everyone we face, but find that one inning to fall apart defensively and give games away. We will continue to work hard at improving our defense each time we have practice and work through our mistakes.”
Licking Heights 7,
The Red Raiders (4-10) dropped a non-league home game Monday against Licking Heights.
London could only muster four hits, two singles off the bat of Taylor Riegel, a single by Alexis Clark and a single and lone RBI from Zoe Webster. Serena Crawford suffered the loss for the Raiders after allowing seven runs on seven hits.
Heights scored four times in the top of the third inning and tacked on a few more over the final two innings of the game.
Jonathan Alder 8,
New Albany 4
The Lady Pioneers (7-2) stepped out of Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division play to travel to New Albany to face the Eagles.
Alder continued to hit the ball well, collecting a total of 12 hits. Katelyn Perkins was credited with the victory as she kept the oppositions bats in check.
Coach Dave McGrew’s team will jump back into league play for a critical game Wednesday, April 19, at River Valley. The Vikings handed the Pioneers their lone league loss this season. Alder and River Valley both have one loss in the MOAC, and trail North Union by a game.
Alder had a game earlier this season with North Union postponed with the Pioneers leading 8-3. It will be continued later this season.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.