Grassfield nips Bulldogs in extra innings

Published 11:10 pm Friday, March 25, 2011

Andrew Giermak/suffolk news-herald Pitch: King’s Fork’s Travis Cherry pitched an eight-inning complete game as the Bulldogs fell to Grassfield 2-1 in a Southeastern District game Friday evening at King’s Fork. Cherry held Grassfield scoreless from the third inning until the extra frame and struck out eight on the night.

King’s Fork lost its Southeastern District baseball contest Friday night, dropping to a 1-3 record in the early stages of the season. Bulldog head coach Mickey Irving had more reasons to be proud of his squad than to dwell on the 2-1, eight-inning loss to visiting Grassfield.

For starters was his starting, and only, pitcher, Travis Cherry. Cherry held the Grizzlies to five hits and only a couple true scoring chances while striking out eight.

“That’s the Travis I expect every time he takes the mound because he’s that good. He located all his pitches and made key pitches for us when we needed him to,” Irving said.

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The Bulldogs scraped together a run in the bottom of the first. The first three Bulldog batters, Noah Johnson, Nick Ramos and Cherry reached on infield singles. Johnson was caught trying to steal second, but Ramos and Cherry gave KF runners on the corners with one out.

With two down, Danny Gromkoski singled sharply into left-center field to plate Ramos.

One Bulldog run was good enough to survive through seven innings, but it wasn’t quite enough to get Cherry the victory.

Grassfield tied the game in the top of the second and the best Grizzly chance to move ahead came in the sixth.

The Grizzlies got a leadoff double, followed by a sacrifice bunt. Cherry struck out the next Grizzly hitter for the second out. The Bulldogs escaped with a lineout to Matt Hommell in shallow right field.

The Bulldogs wasted a bases-loaded, no-out chance in the third then managed only one base runner the rest of the way against two Grizzly pitchers who combined to allow five hits and strikeout 12.

In the eighth, the Grizzlies opened the frame drawing a walk, although the Bulldog dugout and KF half of the bleachers were sure Cherry’s 3-2 pitch was strike three instead of ball four.

Two batters later, a single to left drove in the runner from second for the 2-1 lead. The Bulldogs went down in order in the home half.

“Of course it would’ve been nice to win tonight,” Irving, who’s in his first season coaching the Bulldogs, said, “but we played the right way and if we keep doing that the wins will come soon enough.”

“The guys played the game the way it’s supposed to be played and that’s why I’m proud,” he said.

Cherry goes to a 1-1 record. Johnson went 2-for-4 in the leadoff spot and Cherry, with a hit by pitch and a Grizzly error included, reached base three of four times at the plate.

In the Southeastern District though, the schedule rarely gets easier and the Bulldogs go on the road Tuesday to face Western Branch, with a 3-1 record prior to Friday evening‘s play.