SHEPHERDSTOWN— The last of its nine errors and the lack of a clutch hit (or sacrifice fly) were the twin culprits in Shepherd’s 6-5 loss on Sunday to the Bloomsburg Huskies of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Even though it had made enough errant throws and dropped enough fly balls to earn a role in a Keystone Kops movie, Shepherd was in a position to win the non-conference game after already rallying for three runs in the last of the ninth inning.
The bases were loaded. There was only one out. Bloomsburg moved its leftfielder in to become a fifth infielder and drew all of them in for a possible play at the plate. The two remaining outfielders were stationed in shallow left-center and right-center.
Bloomsburg changed pitchers, bringing on freshman left-hander Tyler Hill. Hill would face Shepherd cleanup batter, Brandon Coffey. Coffey was 0-for-4, but had entered the game as the Rams’ second-leading hitter.
Hill offered Coffey an ordinary fastball and an ordinary NCAA Division II curveball. Needing only a 260-foot fly to one of the two remaining outfielders to plate the game-winning run, Coffey grounded a soft one-hopper back to Hill. Hill threw home for a forceout and catcher Nick Eversole routinely threw to first base to get Coffey by two steps, thus completing an inning-ending double play and keping the game tied at 5-5.
In the Bloomsburg 10th, Shepherd reliever Andrew Gallant, who had gone 2.2 innings the day before, came out for his third inning of duty. After retiring the first two batters on ground outs, Gallant was nicked for Keith Meyer’s first hit of the raw and windy afternoon, a single.
Tim Ravel, also hitless on the day, dumped a would-be single into right-center . . . and when Shepherd outfielder Michael Lott overran the bouncing ball, Meyer came around from first to score.
It was Shepherd’s ninth error of the made-for-Eskimos day. And when Shepherd couldn’t score in its half of the 10th, even after Lott’s leadoff bunt single, the Huskies had made it a profitable — if cold — afternoon.
Shepherd was left with a 6-6 record after going 2-2 in its weekend spate of games played on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Bloomsburg had only seven hits . . . but used the five walks and one hit batsman it received from the combined efforts of five Shepherd pitchers . . . and the nine errors the Rams committed to make the frosty conditions worth playing through for the Huskies.
Shepherd had just six hits until its rally in the ninth when Ryan Messina homered and Chad Murphy had a two-RBI double. The Rams finished with 11 hits.
Nine errors and a 1-2-3 double play had nullified and obscured anything else Shepherd had done.