Crusader comeback not enough in final

Published 10:44 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First Baptist pitcher Ben Joslin throws to first on a pickoff try during Tuesday afternoon’s final of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference Tournament. Greenbrier Christian’s junior varsity team beat the Crusaders 8-6. Seniors Joslin, Wes Hughes and Luke Ognibene played their last games for First Baptist.

First Baptist’s baseball squad racked up 15 hits but needed one or two more on Tuesday as Greenbrier Christian’s junior varsity team, an honorary member of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference for the last couple days, won the final of the conference’s baseball tournament 8-6 over the Crusaders.

Capitalizing with runners in scoring position was the name of the final game. The Gators tallied 12 hits against Crusader pitcher senior Ben Joslin and the Gators got a key hit, usually with two outs in an inning, a couple more times than First Baptist.

First Baptist shortstop Wes Hughes blocks the ball as a Gator runner steals second during the final of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference Tournament. Greenbrier Christian’s junior varsity team won the two-day tournament, beating First Baptist 8-6.

The Gators took a sudden 2-0 lead with two home runs in the first three batters of the game. The homers were the only extra-base hits the Gators got against Joslin, but in five of the six remaining innings, the Gators put runners on base and pressure on First Baptist.


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Wes Hughes doubled to deep center with one out in the Crusader first. With two down, Matthew Brown singled with a bloop into shallow left and Wes Hughes scored.

The Gators added single runs in the second, third and fourth innings.

The Crusaders knocked three singles in their third inning but couldn’t score. The Crusaders had a runner thrown out at third on a hit for the first out of the inning. Still with one out, Hughes hit a fly to the fence in center only for the Gator outfielder to make a jumping catch reaching over the chain-link fence and robbing a two-run homer, which would’ve made it 4-3 Greenbrier.

Starting from a 5-1 hole going into the sixth, the Crusaders rallied twice but couldn’t come back all the way.

Trey Freeman hit a blast well over the right-centerfield fence, far enough so no one could leap and get it, for a solo home run.

Travis Quigley walked and Colby Toler singled. With two outs, Luke Ognibene hit a hard grounder into rightfield. The ball skipped by the rightfielder. Quigley was scoring anyway on the play and Toler, trying to race around from first, was thrown out at the plate.

What really hurt the Crusaders, though, was the Gators answering with three runs in the top of the seventh.

The Crusaders tried erasing the 8-3 deficit and got the tying runner on base in the bottom of the seventh.

Hughes singled to start the inning and wound up scoring on Noah Fagan’s groundout, which was the second out of the inning.

Freeman doubled to left-center and Quigley doubled down the leftfield line. Quigley’s hit scored Freeman to make it 8-6.

Toler reached first, with Quigley moving to third, thanks to a passed ball as he struck out. Toler got caught off first on a pickoff and tagged out in a rundown for the last out.

Joslin, Ognibene and Hughes are the three seniors on the Crusader team. First Baptist finishes the season 10-4 overall.