For the Daily Journal
Facing a perennial regional participant, Edinburgh’s baseball team might have suffered some first-time jitters Saturday. If so, they manifested themselves quickly against Class A power Indianapolis Lutheran.
The Saints, playing in their sixth straight regional and eighth in the last nine years, played error-free and didn’t walk anyone. The Lancers, meanwhile, committed three errors and had several early misplays that allowed Lutheran to build a 5-1 lead after three innings and cruise to a 10-1 win in the first game of the Morristown Regional.
Lutheran (17-7), which edged Edinburgh 3-2 on April 22, advanced to the regional final against Rising Sun. Edinburgh, which played in the regional for the first time since 2011, ends its season at 12-12.
The Lancers collected seven hits, and pitchers Zach Murphy and Coltan Henderson combined to strike out eight Saints, but Lutheran made up for that with several bloop hits and aggressive baserunning. The Saints scored twice with runners at the corners and attempted steals of second. Both times, Edinburgh catcher Parker Bryant threw out the runner at second only to have the runner at third base score.
“We had some nerves early,” Edinburgh coach Jason Burton said. “Both teams hit the ball, but theirs fell through more. We had our chances.”
The Lancers’ best opportunity came in the fourth inning, when they loaded the bases with two out, trailing 5-1. Keegan Sida, Tavian Cosby and Tristen Browning each singled, but pinch hitter Zack Giles grounded sharply back to the pitcher to end the inning.
Murphy struck out six batters in five innings, but allowed eight hits and seven earned runs. Several of those hits were just out of the reach of outstretched Edinburgh gloves.
“Murphy’s been good for us,” Burton said. “If we make a few of those plays, maybe his pitch count is lower (Murphy threw 98 pitches in five innings) and maybe things are a little different for us.”
Bryant went 2 for 3 and scored the Lancers’ lone run after leading off the game with a double and scoring on Murphy’s groundout. Sida and Browning also went 2 for 3 for Edinburgh.
The Lancers will graduate Sida, Browning and Kyle Armel, but will return a solid nucleus that includes seven position starters, leaving Burton optimistic about the program’s future.