Ballard takes advantage of 10 CMB errors

SLATER – It was only a matter of time before Ballard made Collins-Maxwell-Baxter pay dearly for a plethora of defensive mistakes in the non-conference baseball game between the two programs June 20 at Nite Hawk Field.

A game effort by freshman pitcher Brady Stover and some early big hits kept CMB in the game for five innings. But everything unraveled for the Raiders in the bottom of the sixth as Ballard erupted for nine runs to end the game an inning early with a 14-3 victory.

Taylor Bridgewater delivered the fatal blow for the Bombers. After Ballard had already scored five runs in the sixth to take a 10-3 lead, Bridgewater came to the plate with the bases loaded and jacked one over the fence for a grand slam to end the game on account of the 10-run rule.

"That was my third walk-off (home run) this year and it’s always nice to hit a walk-off," Bridgewater said. "The three pitches (in prior at-bats) I hit off the handle. My thumb was hurting like crap. But finally I got one on the sweet spot and hit it out."

Bridgewater’s blast played a big part in Ballard overcoming a slow start. The Bombers took a 3-1 lead after one inning, but allowed CMB to tie things up with two runs in the third.

"We came out flat tonight," Ballard head coach John Cisna said. "Not that we played badly, but we just came out flat. We finally started getting things going and did what we do best – we hit the ball. We’ve always hit the ball well."

Ballard ended up with eight hits. Kordell Lettow and Collin Fopma were hot all game for the Bombers as Lettow went 2-for-4 with three runs and one RBI and Fopma was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and three RBI.

Bridgewater finished 1-for-4 with four RBI and he also walked and stole a base. Jacob Bernholtz hit the go-ahead RBI double for Ballard in the fourth inning and ended up with two runs and a steal.

Matthew Poots chipped in a 1-for-4 night with a run, steal and RBI and Jacob Nethers, Patrick Gray and Spencer Struve each scored one run.

Nick Hartman was the victorious Bomber pitcher. He turned in one of his better outings of the year by striking out 13 batters and giving up just two earned runs on four hits and two walks in six innings.

"Nick was throwing pretty well," Cisna said. "He’s had a couple bad outings and we needed this one tonight. He had pretty good control and was pretty much dominating. We were real pleased to see him have a good outing."

The victory put Ballard at 10-6 on the season.

CMB dropped to 1-13. For the Raiders the game came down to one simple thing – the inability to make plays in the field – as they racked up 10 errors.

"It’s been really bad the past two weeks, but it’s really been the whole season," CMB head coach Max Seeman said. "We just can’t make a play. Just errors, errors, errors. They get the physical reps in practice; I know they do – I hit them to them. They just can’t transfer it to a game."

Stover threw well for five innings before breaking down due to so many defensive problems. He gave up nine runs, but just two were earned, and struck out 10 batters with just one walk.

"For a freshman, he’s a good young pitcher," Cisna said. "He’s going to do well over the next three years."

Levi Anderson threw the final 1/3 of an inning and gave up four runs with two walks and one strikeout.

Stover was also CMB’s top hitter as he finished 2-for-3 and scored twice. Logan Cory singled and scored, Seth Balke picked up a single, Zach Hartgers drove in a run and Aaron Haupert walked twice for CMB.

Ballard 14, CMB 3 (6)

CMB 102 000 – 3 4 10

B 300 209 – 14 8 2

CMB: Brady Stover, Levi Anderson (6) and Brad Ritter

B: Nick Hartman and Kenny Randolph

WP: Hartman

LP: Stover

2B: B – Collin Fopma 2, Jacob Bernholtz

HR: B – Taylor Bridgewater