East Jessamine stranded nine base runners, four of whom were in scoring position, in the Jaguars’ 3-1 loss at Dunbar Saturday.
“We had every opportunity, especially early in the game, to break the game wide open,” East Jessamine coach Kevin Clary said. “If we could have gotten off to a good start, it may have been a different outcome ... We had every opportunity, and that’s very frustrating.”
Down 1-0 in the top of the third inning, Billy Russell led off the frame with a walk and stole second base to get into scoring position with no outs. Following a fly out to center field, Matt Jones reached on a sacrifice bunt to put runners on the corners with one out, but East could not get the hit it needed to tie the game.
Again in the top of the fifth, Russell led off the inning with a double to left field that reached the wall, but the next three batters would be retired, leaving Russell at second.
“We’re going to be a really good team; we just need to get a two-out hit every now and then,” Clary said.
Dunbar was able to tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to a couple walks and a hit batter. Dunbar drew seven walks on the afternoon.
East cut the lead back to one run in the top of sixth. With the bases loaded and one out, Barron Blackford drew a walk to force in Dakota Wozniak, who was running for Jacob Overstreet.
Russell came up with a chance to tie the game or give East the lead with the bases loaded. He hit a fly ball to center field that resulted in an out. Matt Hall tried to tag up and score from third, but the throw beat him to the plate, keeping the Bulldogs’ lead intact.
Dunbar added another run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly to left field.
Forrest Baldwin led off the top of the seventh with a single to left field for the Jags, but that was all East could manage in its last chance.
Russell finished 2-for-3 with a double and a steal. He was also solid in the field defensively. During the bottom of the fourth inning, Russell made two run-saving catches in left field.
“He had a phenomenal game,” Clary said. “He had two hits; he saved two runs ... he’s really stepped up and has been a leader for us. He’s a gamer.”
Cody Eschrich, who started for East, stuck out three batters in three innings and allowed one run on three hits and three walks.
Baldwin took the loss in relief. He walked three and allowed a run in one and one-third innings.
Hall finished the game on the hill for the Jags. He struck out one and gave a run on two hits and a walk in one and two-thirds innings.
“Our pitching wasn’t very good today,” Clary said. “We just have to make quality pitches, and we have to get better on the mound.”
East defense was pretty good on the afternoon. The Jags turned a double play to get out of a jam in the third inning and executed a textbook rundown in the sixth inning to get out of another tough spot.