Hornets suffer first loss

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Scott City handed advance a 7-5 defeat ~ Southeast Missourian

It took nearly two months and 15 games, but someone finally figured out a way to beat Advance's baseball team.

Playing its fourth game in four days, Advance was not able to overcome a thin rotation and costly mistakes, as Scott City was able to collar the Hornets with their first loss of the season in a 7-5 victory at Scott City on Friday.

Advance fell to 14-1, while Scott City inched closer to the .500 mark at 6-7.

While the Class 2 Rams will not face the Class 1 Hornets again this season, Rams coach Mike Umfleet said Friday's win was a big one for his team.

"It does not matter what size you are when you're a good ballclub," he said of Advance. "That's a huge win for us."

The Hornets, who won their first three games this week by a combined score of 43-6, managed just four hits off Scott City starter Mark Johnston, with two of those coming in the seventh inning. After allowing a run in the second and three in the third, Johnston struck out six and did not allow a hit the next three innings.

"You've got to give credit to their pitcher," Advance coach Bob Moses said. "He pitched a heck of a ballgame. We haven't faced a pitcher like that in a long time. It was good for us to see a pitcher like that."

Advance starter Jeremy Limbaugh looked comfortable, as the Scott City hitters had trouble waiting on his curveball. As the game went along, the Rams adjusted, finishing with four doubles among their 10 hits.

"His motion was a little different," Umfleet said of Limbaugh. "He was a tough kid to hit. It just took us a time around."

Limbaugh provided much of the offense for the Hornets, scoring in the second after a leadoff triple, then driving in three in the third with a two-out double for a 4-0 lead.

The Rams cut the lead to 4-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Luke McClellan and Blake Dirnberger hit back-to-back singles with one out, and Jason Schenimann followed with an RBI double. Kyle Curry knocked in the second run with a groundout.

In the fifth inning, Scott City's offense exploded for three doubles and three runs for a 5-4 lead. Dirnberger, Curry and Johnston each doubled in the inning, with Curry picking up two RBIs and Johnston driving in the go-ahead run.

"Our kids kept their composure and Johnston kept us in the ballgame," Umfleet said.

Facing a rare deficit, the wheels came off for Advance in the bottom of the sixth. The Hornets committed three errors in the inning, leading to two runs and increasing Scott City's lead to 7-4.

"Before the game we were 14-0. We haven't been really pushed like we were pushed today," Moses said. "This is probably one of the better teams we've played this season."

Advance was not finished, though, as the Hornets loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. One run came in on a throwing error, but Johnston was able to strike out Limbaugh with the tying run on first to end the game.

Moses said he was pleased the way his team responded after a poor sixth inning.

"I've got a tough bunch of kids," he said.

Dirnberger led Scott City's 10-hit attack with a 3-for-3 performance. Andy Stephens added two hits for the Rams. Johnston pitched all seven innings, allowing four earned runs.

"We've been swinging the bats a lot better the last few games," Umfleet said. "We've won five of the last six games, and our kids have been really focused at the plate."

Scott City will face a tough schedule the last week of the regular season, facing SEMO Conference opponents Kelly, Jackson and Central the final week before hosting the district tournament.

"The time of the year you want to get hot is the end of the year," Umfleet said. "I hope we continue to get better the rest of the year."

Scott City 7, Advance 5

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WP -- Mark Johnston. LP -- Jeremy Limbaugh. 2B -- Johnston (S), Blake Dirnberger (S), Kyle Curry (S), Jason Schenimann (S), Limbaugh (A). 3B -- Limbaugh (A). Multiple hits -- Advance, Limbaugh 2-4; Scott City, Dirnberger 3-3; Andy Stephens 2-3. Records -- Scott City 6-7, Advance 14-1.

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