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Improved defense helps Trojans conquer Warriors

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 10:53 AM

“We’ve been averaging about three to four (errors) lately,” Fruitport coach Paul Masko said, whose team is now 3-3 overall. “It makes a huge difference when our pitchers have the confidence that the defense behind them will make plays. We did that tonight.”

It didn’t start that way for Fruitport, as the team’s lone error, combined with a single and three walks, helped the Warriors jump out to a quick 2-0 lead after their first at-bats.

But Ryan and the Trojans’ fielders settled down, as WMC managed just five hits the rest of the way and didn’t seriously threaten to score again.

“Sometimes we come out with not as much intensity as we should be playing with,” Ryan said, who struck out eight and walked five in five complete innings. “This is a lot different from last year. This team has a good chemistry. We play really good together.”

Masko has been frustrated with his team’s offense thus far, which entered Monday hitting around .250.

“I’m not used to it being that low,” Masko said.

The Trojans improved on that average Monday, as 10 different players recorded at least one hit against Warriors’ starter Omari Lewis, and five players had at least one RBI.

Fruitport tied the contest in the bottom of the first behind RBI doubles from both Zack Goldman and Lance Gilbert, then took advantage of a pair of WMC errors in the second to grab a 4-2 advantage.

“We got some timely hitting and we took advantage of some of their mistakes,” Masko said.

Despite having three base runners thrown out in the first inning alone, the Trojans remained aggressive on the base paths, and it eventually proved successful.

Goldman led off the third with a walk, was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt from Gilbert, then used his speed to race to third and home on passed balls.

The hard luck continued for WMC in the fifth, as a Gilbert strikeout should have ended the inning, but Warriors’ catcher Tim Schuitema couldn’t secure the third strike, allowing Gilbert to race to first. Fruitport capitilized during its very next at-bat, as Kody Schultz drilled a double to deep right to score Gilbert and put the Trojans up, 6-2.

Lewis, the lefty hurler for WMC, issued only two walks entering the sixth, but began to tire and lost his control. He allowed three free passes, as well as three wild pitches in the inning, as the Trojans tacked on four more runs to push the contest out of reach.

Out of the 10 runs Lewis allowed, only three were earned, however, a downside to four Warriors’ errors.

“Omari pitched a great game,” WMC coach Jeff Lindsey said. “He kept us in it, but the errors killed us.”

WMC’s Jake Wall finished 2-for-4 with a double, and Austin Sandin also added two hits.

Goldman, Fruitport’s leading hitter from a year ago, had two RBIs.

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