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Floyd Central pitcher Adam Spalding launches the first pitch of the Highlanders' baseball season against visiting Brownstown Central. The Highlanders' struggled, committing five errors in the 3-2 loss. Photos By Wade Bell

Highlanders slip to Brownstown

April 03, 2019
The Floyd Central Highlanders began the baseball season on a sour note last Tuesday afternoon against the visiting Brownstown Central Braves. Things went bad in the first inning, and, from there, the Highlanders were just unable to catch up, falling 3-2.

"It's the first game," Floyd Central coach Casey LaDuke said after the game. "We've got some guys, a couple of sophomores and a couple of juniors, that hadn't played varsity baseball before. This is the difference in varsity and JV. In JV you can make four or five errors and still win. You can't make five errors at the varsity level and win. It's not going to happen a lot."

Senior Adam Spalding went to the mound for the Highlanders to start the game and came out flat, walking the first two batters he faced. Isaiah Wineinger was the first to walk and grabbed second and third base on a Floyd Central throwing error. Seth Borden then walked and stole second. A second throwing error allowed Wineinger to score and Borden to advance to third.

Floyd Central's Carson Stiller just misses getting a stolen base against Brownstown Central's Seth Borden.
Moments later, with one out, Jalen Tiemeyer went to first and second on a Highlander mistake that also allowed Borden to cross the plate for a 2-0 lead. Matthew Garland got to first on yet a fourth Floyd Central error that allowed Tiemeyer to third base. Jake Pauley grounded to second base to score Tiemeyer, and the Braves jumped in front 3-0.

"You've got to throw strikes," LaDuke said. "You've got to catch the ball. We didn't do that. And then you've got to throw the ball in the first inning. You can't do that. What that does is it puts you down 3-0 right away. All of a sudden it puts pressure on you offensively. Then, we get tightened up."

The Highlanders got one of those back in the bottom of the inning. Carson Stiller hit a lead-off single but was later gunned down trying to put second base in his pocket. Aaron Brown followed that with a triple, putting himself in scoring position. Aiden Minzenberger was hit by a pitch. Joe Harrington smashed a double that scored Brown. The Highlanders failed to convert their two remaining base runners but closed their deficit to two after one inning.

The next 3-1/2 innings went scoreless. Both teams got runners on base but failed to convert for runs.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Highlanders closed their gap again. With two outs, Brown reached first on a Brave error and stole second. Minzenberger ripped a triple to the right field corner to score Brown and close the gap to one. Minzenberger would get no farther on the diamond, however, as Hunter Hoke struck out to retire the side.

"It's early in the season, so the bats are probably going to be a little slower coming around," LaDuke said. "We just can't put ourselves behind a wall like that."

Brownstown Central went three up and out in the top of the sixth and seventh innings. Floyd Central threatened in the bottom of the sixth but also blanked.

The Highlanders went three up and out in the bottom of the seventh, and the Braves had the 3-2 win.

"We've got a little learning to do," LaDuke said. "The first inning we just put ourselves in a hole. I think that put pressure on us. I think everybody is going to face pressure the first game of the season hitting anyway. It's the first time you've really seen live pitching in a game situation. Everybody is pressing a little bit, and when you do that in the first inning, with all the errors, it kind of compounds things."

The Highlanders had five hits, all from different batters, including three for extra bases. From the mound, Spalding struck out three and walked no more after the first two. Daly Skeez followed Spalding with four strikeouts and no walks. The Highlanders had the five errors and left six runners on base.

"I saw some things that looked good," the Floyd Central coach said. "Adam, once he settled down, he threw the ball well. Daly Skeez looked really good. We like what Daly has to bring for us this year. But we've got to play defense, and we didn't do that."

Brownstown Central finished with three hits. The Braves used three pitchers to combine for nine strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter. Brownstown Central had two errors and left three runners stranded.

"We've got another game tomorrow night (at Tell City) so we've got to learn real quick. We've got to have some good practices Thursday and Friday. We've got to go there. It's going to be a challenge. It's always tough to go there and play. We'll be all right. We've just got to learn our lessons and work a little harder and go from there."

Brownstown Cent. 300 000 0 - 3 3 2

Floyd Central 100 010 0 - 2 5 5

W-Jake Pauley. L-Adam Spalding. 1B-Stiller (FC), Hines (B), Gross (FC), Tiemeyer (B), Wineinger (B); 2B-Harding (FC); 3B-Brown (FC), Minzenberger (FC). Records-Brownstown Central 1-0, Floyd Central 0-1.

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