A couple games off may have been just what John Ullom needed.
After sitting out of Male’s lineup the last couple games, the centerfielder went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, two runs batted in and two runs scored in the Bulldogs’ 7-2 victory over host Manual Wednesday night at Derby City Field.
After struggling over the weekend, coach Jeff Garrity felt some time in the dugout would help the sophomore. Ullom, limited to pinch running during his time off, admitted being anxious before going to the plate in the second inning.
“It was a little scary, but I wanted to hit for a while,” he said.
He took full advantage of the opportunity by hitting his second homer of the season, a solo shot, in that first at bat to make it 2-0. He got a 3-1 fastball off Sam Clinard (2-2) that took off in the wind to left center. Drew Marquardt, Manual’s left fielder, tracked the ball, but when he got to the fence all he could do was watch the ball sail over it.
Ullom, the Bulldogs’ sixth hitter, teamed with cleanup batter Neal Hancock and five-hole hitter Slate Robinson to do most of the damage. They combined for seven of Male’s 10 hits, drove in four runs and scored five times.
In the next inning, after Robinson extended the frame by barely beating out a grounder for an infield single, Ullom scored him on a double to left to make it 3-0.
“It was nice to see him come out, as a sophomore, have confidence and be aggressive,” said Garrity, who added that Ullom earned the second chance by the way he carried himself while on the bench.
Manual (6-6) would cut the Male lead to one in the bottom of the third. Riley Noe doubled off Will Seewer (1-0). He moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch. With two outs, Clinard doubled to left, scoring Chris Gambert.
But Manual would get no closer as Male (7-2) put the game away for good in the fifth. The first five batters reached as the Bulldogs sent 10 to the plate in the four-run frame. Noah Thompson walked and Hancock got his third single to chase Clinard. Robinson lined the first pitch from Matthew Olson into left field for a run-scoring single. After Ullom walked on four pitches. Hogan Brownley’s single to right center plated two.
An out later, Seewer, who gave up four hits and two runs in three innings pitched, scored Ullom with a single up the middle.
“That’s kind of been our low point this year,” said Manual coach Matt Timbario. “We’ve always had that one inning that we just can’t afford to have, and tonight, that’s what doomed us.”
Jack Cameron finished off the game for Male, striking out five over the last four innings for the save.
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