CHILLICOTHE – One thing is for sure: Zane Trace’s baseball team is by far the most experienced in the area when it comes to playing in the elements.
After battling bitter cold temperatures at the beginning of this week and rain showers towards the end, the Pioneers faced a combination of both in a 4-2 loss to Sandusky Perkins, Friday night, at VA Memorial Stadium as a part of the 2015 First Pitch Classic.
While enduring drizzling rain all night long, Zane Trace (2-2) was never able to get comfortable at the plate, scattering just four hits over seven innings of baseball.
In fact, the Pioneers didn’t register their first hit of the ballgame until there was one out in the bottom of the fourth inning — via a single off the bat of left fielder Trey Rittenhouse.
However, through it all, starter Tanner Doles (0-1) kept his team in the contest as he wiggled his way out of trouble numerous times — overcoming four Zane Trace’ errors in the process.
Doles ended his night after throwing 71 pitches through 4.1 innings of work, giving up five hits and two runs — one of which was earned.
In the opposing dugout, Sandusky Perkins (2-1) sent Trevon Moore to the mound and he expressed his gratitude by throwing a complete game gem. Moore threw a total of 114 pitches, allowing just four hits and striking out eight Pioneers.
The Pirates gave Moore a 1-0 lead with one out in the top of the fifth after stringing together three consecutive hits in the inning, chasing Doles from the game.
Senior Josh George was called upon to relieve Doles and succeeded in getting the next two outs thanks to a fielder’s choice and a strikeout — but not before Perkins was able to score its second run due to a throwing error.
In the bottom of the fifth, Zane Trace was able to get a two out single from shortstop Alex Wolff, who was left stranded on first base.
In the top half of the sixth, the Pirates tacked on another run thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Dawson Nason. Zane Trace went down in order during the bottom of the sixth, setting the stage for Perkins to take a 4-0 lead in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly.
Perkins misplayed a ball at shortstop to begin the bottom half of the seventh inning, allowing Josh McCorkle to reach base. After Tyler Wood grounded out to Moore on the mound, Joel Dunkle drew a walk.
With McCorkle on second and Dunkle on first, Trey Davis flew out to third base for the second out of the inning. After Alex Wolff drew a walk to load the bases, Brice Graves was finally able to get the Pioneers on the board with a two run single, scoring McCorkle and Dunkle.
With the score standing at 4-2 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and runners on first and second, Drew Barr — who represented the winning run — stepped to the dish for Zane Trace. Barr swung at an 0-2 pitch, sending a routine ground ball to second base, effectively ending the rally and the contest.
Zane Trace left eight runners on base and committed six total errors during the game. Perkins logged a total of eight hits, left nine men on base and made two errors.
Graves went 1-4 at the plate with 2 RBI while Rittenhouse, Wolff and Ryan Park all had one knock each for the Pioneers.
Nason led the Pirates on offense as he went 3-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Luke Zahniser went 2-4 with two runs and an RBI.
The Pioneers will be back in action at 1 p.m., Saturday, at home against Lynchburg Clay. Sandusky Perkins will return to VA Memorial Stadium tomorrow, starting a doubleheader against Wheelersburg and Adena at 12:45 p.m.
Derrick Webb is a Gazette sportswriter and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dw1509.