Lack of pop, defense cost Wildcats

Springfield ace Riley Borders said his control was little off. Fairmont coach Kent Drake sent his team to the plate with instructions to be aggressive.

It turned out to be a bad combination for the Wildcats on Monday as Fairmont used a five-run second inning to roll to an 8-3 victory in Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division play.

“I give credit to them, they hit the ball,” Borders said. “But my pitches weren’t in their spots. Sometimes they’re not and sometimes they are. It happens.”

The Firebirds (3-7, 1-2) collected 12 hits, including five in the second inning. With two outs, two singles, a double and fielder’s choice pushed Fairmont’s lead to 3-1. Then a throwing error led to two unearned runs.

“Defensively we just have to be better in the middle infield,” Wildcats coach Rob Cassell said. “They hit the ball hard, but we do have to make some plays in that situation. And I think it’s a completely different ballgame if we make a couple plays.”

Borders (1-3) fell behind 7-1 in the third inning as the Firebirds rapped four more singles.

“He’s a good strong pitcher,” Drake said. “He just missed some spots today and we swung aggressively and good things happened.”

Cassell said Borders, who finished with four strong innings and threw only 88 pitches, has been a victim of errors and bad breaks too often.

“As a pitcher that kind of gets in your psyche a little bit,” Cassell said. “And you have to fight through that. My hat off to him — he fought through it.”

For the Wildcats (4-7, 0-3) to turn their season around in the second half, it will take improvement on defense and in hitting.

“Making the routine plays is the biggest thing,” Borders said. “You’ve got to get the sure outs. You’ve got to get the outs they give us. If we can just practice a little more and work on our fundamentals, we’ll be solid.”

The Wildcats came into Monday’s game batting only .239 and managed only six hits against sophomore Jaryd Murphy (3-1). The Wildcats started the game with four straight singles but scored only one run because two runners were thrown out trying to steal second.

“The times that we’ve had success at the plate we’ve been putting guys in motion,” Cassell said. “You win some, you lose some when you gamble like that. We still won the first inning. We thought if we could jump on top early then we could control the tempo of the game. It just didn’t work out that way.”

Murphy is Fairmont’s No. 1 starter and struck out eight because he threw strikes, got ahead of hitters and walked only two.

“When he was on, he was on,” Drake said. “In the innings that they scored, he got a little bit loose with his mechanics and he was all over the place. I went out and talked to him a couple times, calmed him down.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

5 takeaways from a Western and Southern Open first-timer
5 takeaways from a Western and Southern Open first-timer

This week I had my first Western and Southern Open experience.  Although it was cut short by a nasty rain storm, I saw enough to convince me I need to make a return trip.  Here are my top takeaways from my visit:  The Graeter’s turtle sundae really hit the spot, giving me the energy to seek out actual tennis.  I found it at...
Joey Votto is Kris Bryant’s favorite player
Joey Votto is Kris Bryant’s favorite player

Cubs fans may not be thrilled with star third baseman Kris Bryant’s favorite player. Bryant admitted that his top preferred player is Reds first baseman Kris Bryant. “He’s the best player ever,” Bryant said before Wednesday’s game versus Cincinnati. “He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking...
How the Ohio State offense is getting its swagger back
How the Ohio State offense is getting its swagger back

We’ve reached the point in the football preseason that themes can start to run into the ground.  “How will X be better than it was last year, coach?” is a well-worn question in July and August.  Whatever went wrong a season ago is inevitably a central theme to the following preseason.  Such as it is with an Ohio State...
High School Football: New coach, same expectations for Greeneview
High School Football: New coach, same expectations for Greeneview

The Greeneview Rams have had much to cheer about the past three seasons by earning the program’s first playoff appearance and first postseason victory. But you wouldn’t know it by watching them, especially on the practice field. The Rams have quietly gone about their business after reaching the postseason the past three seasons. &ldquo...
Regarding the ‘Urban Meyer is overrated/underrated’ at Ohio State thing
Regarding the ‘Urban Meyer is overrated/underrated’ at Ohio State thing

This “Urban Meyer has underachieved at Ohio State thing” is a stupid, made-up story, but people love to click those so it's probably worth a few minutes.  I would say he's overachieved twice, underachieved twice and hit expectations pretty much on the head once in five seasons in which he is 61-6 with one national championship, one...
More Stories