With zeros on the scoreboard for most of the afternoon on Monday in a battle with Highway 52 neighbor Versailles, Eldon senior Charlie Mays stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and ended the scoreless deadlock with an RBI single
The Eldon offense finally broke its silence.
With zeros on the scoreboard for most of the afternoon on Monday in a battle with Highway 52 neighbor Versailles, Eldon senior Charlie Mays stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and ended the scoreless deadlock with an RBI single. Fellow senior Landon Wall provided two insurance runs and the pitching duo of sophomore Fisher Snelling and senior Dawson Brandt kept the visitors quiet in a 3-0 shutout over the Tigers.
“Hitting is contagious and I just got up there and was like, ‘Well, if they can do it, I can do it.’ Then, I did what I’ve been taught to do and put the ball in the gap,” Mays said of his opportunity at the plate in the sixth.
Eldon coach Chad Hinds said it was nice to see the senior’s bat contributing once again.
“For Charlie that is a big positive. He has been struggling hitting-wise and for him to get that hit tonight and score a couple of runs was huge for him and for us as a ballclub,” the skipper said. “If we can get him going and swinging the bat like he should, we’ll be tough to beat.”
Until that point, Eldon’s offense was scattered as the Mustangs left three men on base with only one reaching second base to get in scoring position while another had been tagged out after an overthrow at second. Eldon put up just five hits and Brandt led the charge with two of them, but none of it was fruitful until the sixth in a series of misfortunate events for the Tigers.
Brandt led off the inning with a single and was caught on the basepaths between first and second before narrowly evading a tag to safely reach second. A hit-by-pitch and a walk loaded the bases for Mays and then Wall added two RBIs by safely reaching first on a double play attempt error that would have ended the inning.
“It was a good baseball game. Their guy kept us off balance and we just did not have an approach mentally or physically at the plate,” Hinds noted. “I told the guys to sit back and take it right side and of course all the guys are swinging with everything they have instead of doing the small things right.
“But, late in the game they finally hunkered down, listened, put the ball in play and good things happened for us.”
And unfortunately for Versailles junior pitcher Kaden McGinnis, it resulted in a loss on the hill after five solid innings allowing two runs, one earned, with a single walk and seven strikeouts. Senior Kade Marriott did the rest allowing a run on one hit with two walks and strikeouts.
“That is the bad part about it. Kaden threw one heck of a game, but that is ok,” Versailles coach Jason Ollison stated. “We have to do a better job of throwing the baseball at the bases and we cannot hardly go out there and justify not calling something right or wrong whenever we don’t throw the ball right to a player.
“Kaden threw one heck of a game and their guys did too. They came in and shut us down pretty good and kept us off balance at the plate.”
The Versailles offense racked up just three hits on the night, leaving eight men on base and four in scoring position. Senior Wyatt Espinosa, junior Brayden Morrison and McGinnis provided those hits, but the Mustangs stymied any potential threat.
“It is confidence. We practice all the time hitting with runners in scoring position and we come through and do a good job whether it is me throwing live, batting practice or we got our guys throwing,” Ollison said of the offensive woes. “Like I told them, I said, ‘If there is someone out there making you believe you are not good enough to play this game, don’t listen to them because we can go out there and win baseball games.’ We just have to play with confidence and that is where we are at right now.”
Well, Snelling and Brandt did not make things any easier for the Tigers as the former hurler went five innings allowing three hits and four walks to go with five strikeouts while Brandt earned the win in two innings of work allowing just a single walk and striking out three.
“Im going to give credit to Corbin (Harrison). He was calling really good pitches for me and found out really quick what was working for me and what wasn’t,” Brandt pointed out. “He called really good pitches strategically.”
It is a trend the head man is hoping to see continue.
“Snelling has been throwing the ball well all year and Dawson has been struggling off and on. But for Dawson to come out tonight and throw two solid innings- one, it boosts his confidence and two, it kind of helps the defense know that Dawson is finally back,” Hinds noted. “Last year he was rock solid for us and this year he started out struggling, but as long as he can finish like he did last year the pitching will be pretty solid for us.”
Another good sign for Eldon was the fact that the team finished its first game of the season error free and it did not go unnoticed.
“Kids were laying out for balls and pitchers pitched well tonight on both sides. Our guys continued to pound the strike zone, but we just have to get the bats going sooner rather than later,” Hinds said.
Versailles (5-11, 0-5 Tri-County Conference) has dropped seven straight games and Ollison noted that here has been a lull, but his club just has to fight back through it. The Tigers were scheduled to face Eugene on Tuesday and visit Boonville on Thursday at 5 p.m.
“We’ll get there and we got some time to get it figured out. I just hope the boys are a little more urgent about it because time is getting short.”
Eldon (3-15, 2-3 Tri-County Conference) will host Helias on Thursday at 5 p.m. Mays has an idea of what it will take to stay in the win column.
“The big thing is just going to be keep playing defense and start putting the bat on the ball like we did in the final innings. We have a lot of potential and this year has been kind of up and down, but we are on an up and we are planning to stay on an up.”