By Chuck Reherman
OKLAHOMA CITY – In a pitcher’s dual, one play can make a difference.
It did Tuesday in Southwest Covenant’s game with Christian Heritage Academy.
CHA turned a Patriot error into two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning that led the Crusaders to a 2-0 win at CHA.
The Patriots had only four hits in the game, while holding CHA to six hits. Andrew Hickman went the distance for the Patriots and had six strikeouts on the day.
“We have to get our bats working a little more,” head coach Kolton Brown said. “We have left too many runners on base so far this year and have struck out a little too much. But, we have made some strides,” he said. “We have struck out like 22 games in our first two games and half cut that in half the last two.
“Your could tell our first at bats we were a little late since we haven’t seen live pitching since last May,” he said. “CHA is a talented ball club, are well coached and very well disciplined. But, I felt it was the best game we have played all year. We pitched the ball well, threw strikes and had runners in scoring position and our defense was flawless except for one inning where we had a couple of mistakes.
“We just have to work on getting getter every day. We feel our defense is going to be our strength and our hitting will come around the more live pitching we will see.”
The Patriots, down 2-0, had a chance to rally in the top of the seventh inning putting the tying run on first base.
Anthony Cox and Jordan Griswold both walked to open the inning. But, the Patriots hit into a fielder’s choice, struck out and had a runner picked off base to end the inning and the game.
The Patriots had runners in scoring position in the first inning. Will Haas had singled, but was caught stealing for the first out. Hickman singled and Caleb Moody doubled to put runners at second and third, only to see the inning come to an end on a ground out.
SWCS had two more runners on base in the third after walks to Blake Riddell and Hickman. But, again the runners were stranded.
CHA scored their two runs in the fifth inning on a pair of singles.
Haas had two of the four Patriot hits in four trips to the plate.
“We have seen improvement since that first game,” Brown said. “We are trying to get them to focus on the positive. Baseball is a game of failure, your going to fail, but we are not going to focus on that and focus on the good things. That is what we are trying to change the mindset right now.
“Andrew threw the ball well,” he said. “He was in command of the game and was hitting his spots. They were behind on him and he was getting pitches over the plate.”
In a game played on Monday, the Patriots grabbed an early lead, but saw Oklahoma Christian Academy rally to a 9-5 win at Oklahoma Christian University’s field in Edmond.
The Patriots had taken a 3-0 lead in the third inning and after giving up four in the bottom of the inning came back to take a 5-4 lead.
“We had one big inning we gave up, but we came back and scored and took the lead again,” Brown said. “That last inning, we threw the ball around and made some errors that cost us.”
Trailing 4-3 in the fourth inning, taking the lead on an RBI single by Haas. Luke Spaeny and Bryson Ford both walked and Spaeny scored on a passed ball before Haas’s RBI single.
OCA answered with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to open an 8-5 lead and added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
The Patriots had taken a 3-0 lead in the second on a three-run scoring double by Moody after SWCS had loaded the bases.