By J.W. Campbell, Sportswriter
The Triad baseball Knights continued to struggle on Friday, May 10 as the squad dropped its sixth game in a row, losing to the Belleville East Lancers 9-3 in Belleville.
Things started out well enough for the Knights, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and a half.
Triad drew first blood with a run in the top of the first. The rally started with a lead-off walk to Drew Parres. He stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice fly to center field and scored when Joe Wade hit a line drive to left-center that was dropped by the Lancer left fielder.
It became a 3-0 contest when Triad scored twice in the top of the second frame. Back-to-back doubles by Hunter Boyd and Ethan Gratton produced one of the runs, while a sacrifice fly to right by Parres plated the other tally.
Belleville East stormed back with three runs in the bottom of the third. Evan Gray drove in all the runs in the inning with a bases-loaded double to right-center. The three runners that scored reached on two walks and a hit by pitch.
The Lancers scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth to take control of the game. Dillion Donjon started the stanza with an infield hit. He moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a bunt single by Micah Georgian. The lead runner crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Zechariah Georgian. Later in the inning, Evan Gray singled home two runs and Kannon Walker chased home another with a safety. The final run of the inning scored when the Lancers tried a double steal. On the play, Walker was tagged out after a run down, but Gage Cruz, the runner at third, scored before Walker was retired.
Belleville tacked on its final run of the game in the sixth when Cruz walked, stole second and scored on a base hit to left by C.J. Cagas.
Triad finished the game with just three hits. The Knights did, however, receive eight walks in the game. Collecting a safety each for Triad was Boyd, Gratton and Caleb Goforth.
Walker was the starter and winner for Belleville East. He gave up three runs on three hits and one free pass. He was followed to the mound by Drew Gray, who hurled 1 2/3 innings, allowing three walks and striking out four Triad hitters.
Jack Temmer came on to get the final out of the contest, inducing fly ball from the only batter he faced.
Chris Bridge took the loss for the Knights. He started and went 3 1/3 innings. The Triad hurler was reached for seven runs on six hits and four walks. He was followed to the mound by Drew Straub, who gave up a run on three hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings of work. Jordan Donato finished the game for Triad, giving up a run on a hit and a walk.
Triad pitchers combined to strike out nine Lancers.
Belleville’s top hitter was Evan Gray, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored and four RBIs.
On Monday, May 13, the Triad losing streak reached seven games when the Knights fell 5-3 to the Alton Redbirds.