By J.W. Campbell, Sportswriter
The Triad baseball Knights suffered a frustrating week last week, losing all three games they played, including one by one run and another by two tallies.
The most recent setback was a 9-7 loss to the Breese Mater Dei Knights on Monday, March 25 at Triad.
Triad drew first blood in their game against Mater Dei, scoring a run in the bottom of the first when Hunter Smith reached on an infield single and scored on a double to right by Joe Wade.
It became a 2-0 contest in the second on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Drew Straub. Scoring on the play was Ethan Gratton, who started the rally with a single and moved to third on a base hit by Evan Anderson.
Mater Dei tied the game in the top of the third on back-to-back RBI singles by Grant Muntan and Brock Timmermann.
Triad’s final lead of the game came in the bottom of the third when Smith was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on a hit by Wade and scored on a ground out by Nolan McGowen.
Two runs in the top of the fourth gave Mater Dei a 4-3 lead. The rally began with back-to-back safeties by Nick Burg and Craig Oertel that put runners at first and third. The lead runner scored on a sacrifice bunt by Garrett Hodous and the second run crossed the plate on a single by Brett Goestenkors.
Breese tacked on three more runs in the top of the fifth with Oertel delivering a two-run single. Mater Dei was helped by two Triad errors, one of which allowed the third run of the frame to score.
Triad responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the fifth to close the gap to 7-6. Smith provided an RBI single in the stanza, while McGowen plated a run with a bases-loaded walk. The third run of the inning scored on a double play.
A run in the bottom of the sixth knotted the game at 7-7. Triad got that run when Hunter Boyd hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Anderson, who started the frame with an infield hit. He moved to second on a walk to Drew Straub and advanced to third when Smith was hit by a pitch with one out.
Mater Dei scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the seventh. Oertel singled home one run in the inning, while a grounder by Zach Napovanice added an insurance run.
After grabbing a 9-7 lead, Mater Dei’s Mitchell Haake retired the Knights 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to pick up a save.
The winning pitcher was Hodous in relief of starter Blake Sellers.
The Triad loss went to McGowan, who followed Joe Wade and Jack Oller to the mound.
Offensively, Triad was led by Smith, who had two hits, an RBI and three runs scored. Although he went 0-for-3 in the game, McGowan had two RBIs in the contest. Going 3-for-3 with an RBI was Wade.
Mater Dei got a big day out of Oertel, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a run scored.
The week started with a 5-1 home loss to Mt. Vernon on Tuesday, March 19.
Triad scored its only run of the game in the third inning.
The Knights garnered seven hits in the contest, six of which were singles. Joe Wade had Triad’s only extra-base hit. It was a triple. Dividing six singles evenly were Caleb Goforth, Gratton, McGowen, Drew Parres, Smith and Matt Weis.
The following day, the Knights lost a heartbreaking 6-5 decision to Collinsville in Collinsville.
The Kahoks jumped ahead 1-0 at the end of the first inning, but Triad scored five unanswered runs and held a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. Collinsville, however, rallied for four runs in the seventh to tie the game and send it into an extra inning. In the bottom of the eighth, the Kahoks scored the eventual winning run.
The loss was the second walk-off setback of the year for the Knights.
Triad scored their five runs on nine hits, all singles. Smith and Weis paced the Knights at the plate. Smith went 1-for-4 with two runs batted in. Weis was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
The Collinsville attack was led by Devin Bovinett, who had two hits, including a double. He had three RBIs in the contest.
Kyle Moore was the winning pitcher for Collinsville. He threw three innings, allowing two unearned runs on four hits. He followed Ryker Cain to the mound. Cain allowed three runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits. He had three strike outs in the game.