Defensive lapses leave Reds blue Second-place Liberty Road beats Columbia, 9-6, in Metro

July 01, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Errors and stranded runners have plagued the Columbia Reds periodically this summer, and last night at Randallstown High School, those two problems returned to haunt the Reds once more.

The Reds committed three miscues, including a costly mistake in the fourth inning, and left nine runners on base, as Liberty Road twice rallied from deficits to pull away to a 9-6 victory in Baltimore Metro Baseball League 17-18 action.

The loss left the Reds (8-10) in third place in the eight-team Senior Division, well behind the second-place Liberty Road squad (15-7). Both teams trail the division-leading Yankee Rebels.

"We've had a nine-error game, a seven-error game and two six-error games this year. That's just too many," said Columbia coach Larry Thompson, whose Reds have made 58 errors and allowed 52 unearned runs this season, including five last night. "I still think we have some pretty good fielders."

Last night, a defensive lapse in the fourth inning proved to be Columbia's undoing.

With the scored tied at 5, Liberty Road loaded the bases against starting pitcher Shane Beaver (1-4) with a single and two walks. Jeff Burrows then blooped an RBI-single into shallow center field, and as Reds center fielder Derrek Schneider charged in and pulled up, the ball skipped past him, allowing two more runs to score and Burrows to advance to third. Timmy Elliott singled home Burrows to give Liberty Road a 9-5 lead.

To their credit, the Reds, who overcame two early Liberty leads and outhit their rivals, 13-10, didn't quit. Liberty starter Bob Wheelton (2-0) departed after five innings, and the Reds went to work against reliever Mike Ginsberg in the sixth.

Four straight one-out singles, including an RBI-hit by Geoff Little, cut the lead to 9-6. That's when another familiar shortcoming returned to stifle the Reds.

First, Ronnie Garrett (3-for-3 in his previous at-bats with an RBI) popped out. Ryan Schneider then struck out to end the threat, marking the 29th time this season that the Reds have left the bases loaded.

Ginsberg set the Reds down in order in the seventh to record his first save.

"I'm really proud of these guys. They're young and they make mistakes, but they battle," said Thompson, whose Reds have beaten Liberty twice in four tries. "They [Liberty Road] are 15-7, we're 8-10, but I really think we're just as good as they are."

It was hard to separate the teams during the first four innings, as they combined for 10 runs and 15 hits.

Liberty took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, asBurrows and Brian Boteler -- the Howard County Player of the Year from state-champion Glenelg -- drove in runs. The Reds answered with a run in the second, then took a 4-2 lead in the top of the third on an RBI-double by Wilde Lake's Billy Ferguson (3-for-4) and RBI-singles by Garrett and Jay Armiger.

Liberty regained the lead in its next at-bat. With one out, Burrows singled, then scored on a triple by Elliott, who scored on a wild pitch by Beaver. One out later, Pete Bogue singled, stole second, then scored on Brian Sullivan's single to make it 5-4.

The Reds bounced back with a run in the fourth on an RBI-double by Ryan McGonigal. Liberty then snuffed out a potential big inning with terrific defense.

With two out and McGonigal on second, Ferguson drove a pitch deep into left-center field that looked like a certain extra-base hit. However, Liberty center fielder Todd Dorsey made a spectacular diving catch to end the inning and preserve the tie.

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