Bobcats learning hard lessons

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, April 7, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Brandywine varsity baseball team is learning its lessons the hard way.
For the second straight game, the Bobcats suffered a mercy-rule loss with a 15-1 setback against South Bend Clay Tuesday afternoon. The loss drops Brandywine to 0-3 while Clay is 1-0.
The Bobcats are also learning of their need to be aggressive at the start of the game.
Clay got off to a good start with a two-run first inning. Tim DeLeu and Justin Narroff started the inning with back-to-back singles off Brandywine starter Zach Bennett. Both players scored later inn the inning to grab an early 2-0 lead for the Colonials.
Clay starter Paul Piennette struck out all three Brandywine batters in the bottom of the first and Bennett retired all three Colonials in the top of the second.
Matt Koller was the first Brandywine batter to find success with a short fly ball to center field for a single. Koller, however, was left stranded on first base.
The third inning was all Clay. After a pair of walks to start the inning, the Colonials went on to pepper the Brandywine defense with nine hits for 13 runs. The Bobcats did not commit a single error during the stretch.
Tim Douglass relieved Bennett in the third inning and faced five batters. He stayed on the mound for the fourth inning before Matt Wieger took over in the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the third, the Bobcats nearly broke through for a run. Josh Dickeson hit a long fly ball to the left field fence for a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Wieger. Dickeson was left stranded, however, when Andy Low grounded out to Piennette.
Douglass gave up two singles but no runs in the top of the fourth inning.
Brandywine's only run came in the bottom of the fourth. Casey Udell led off the inning with a single off of Clay pitcher Justin Zobrisky and Billy Syrette followed with a walk. Aaron Holy and Koller struck out, but a single down the third base line by Josh Atwood scored Udell. The other two runners were stranded.
Wieger retired all three batters in the top of the fifth. The Bobcats' defense finished the day with a double play from Wieger to Low to Udell.
Zobrisky retired all three Brandywine batters in the bottom of the fifth inning to close the game.
Piennette struck out four batters and Zobrisky fanned three while giving up two hits apiece.
The Bobcats will have more chances to get the kinks worked out Saturday as they travel to Bronson for a tournament which includes Lakeland Conference foes Edwardsburg and Buchanan along with the host Vikings.