On Friday, April 30, it came full circle for the Litchfield head baseball coach Conor White, as he stepped foot on the Sacred Heart-Griffin campus as a head coach, the same campus where White protected the diamond as a student.
The Purple Panthers could not find a run in the Coach White’s debut as the perennial power house SHG walked away with a shortened game, 10-0 victory.
In the opening inning the Purple Panthers would get runners on the base paths as leadoff hitter Blaine Stewart would reach first base after being hit by a pitch. During the next at-bat, Stewart would put himself in scoring position as he nabbed second base.
Stewart would remain on second as the next two Litchfield batters struck out. With two outs, Jacob Budd would collect the first hit of the contest, also moving Stewart to third base. The scoring threat would be left on third base as the third out was collected.
In the bottom half of the opening inning SHG would collect three runs off of three hits as SHG held a 3-0 lead after one inning of action.
In the top half of the second inning Litchfield would once again get a runner in scoring position as Jordan Harris would double with one out. Harris would remain at second as the Cyclones shut down the next two batters.
Litchfield’s starting pitcher Blaine Stewart would bounce back on the hill in the bottom half of the second inning. After giving up three runs in the first inning, Stewart would allow only one Cyclone on the base paths in the second inning, reaching base on an error. That Cyclone would be stranded on the base paths as Stewart closed out the inning.
In the bottom half of the third inning the Cyclones would get ahold of Stewart, pushing him off the mound after scoring three more runs off of three hits and three walks.
Chase Hires would replace Stewart on the mound and would collect the final two outs, after giving up two walks and hitting a batter. Cyclones’ success in the inning would increase their lead to 10-0.
The success in the third frame by the Cyclones is all they would need to secure the win. Litchfield would only get one base runner, Jace Stewart, on the base paths in the final two innings.
Drew Hartzell would close out the contest for the Purple Panthers on the mound as he faced one batter in the bottom of the fourth and would close out the inning with a double play.
Even though, the Purple Panthers would drop their season opener, it was nice for the players to be back on the diamond.
Blaine Stewart would be given the loss in the contest as he pitched two and a third innings, giving up six hits and nine earned runs. The 10th Cyclone run would be charged to Chase Hires.
Litchfield would not be shy threatening early in the contest, but could not find a way to put a run on the board.
The Panthers will take on Vandalia at home on Monday, May 3, followed by another home game the next day against Lincoln.
April 30 at Springfield
Litchfield 000 00 0 2 4
SHG 307 0x 10 7 1
Litchfield IP R ER H K BB
L-B. Stewart 2.1 9 9 6 2 4
C. Hires 1 1 1 1 1 2
Hartzell 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
Hits: Litchfield - Jordan Harris 1, Jacob Budd 1. 2B: Litchfield - Jordan Harris 1.
Record: Litchfield (1-0).