Baseball: Marengo topples Larkin in 8
Larkin baseball coach Matt Esterino hopes his team will use Wednesday's 6-4 loss in 8 innings to visiting Marengo as a learning tool after the Royals squandered too many opportunities. They stranded 6 baserunners in scoring position and blew a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning, eventually falling 6-4 in eight innings.
"For some of those guys it's the first time at the varsity level being in those situations," Esterino said. "So there is a tendency to squeeze the bats a little and press. We'll be looking to convert in more of those situations as the season goes on and the kids gain more experience. This game will be good to learn from."
Too many free passes also cost Larkin as three Royals pitchers combined to issue 8 walks of which 3 came around to score. It was a leadoff walk followed by an infield single that led to the Indians scoring the go-ahead runs on a wild pitch in the eighth inning.
"We call those freebies," Esterino said. "And we were handing out too many of them today. Walks are almost always going to come back to get you."
Offensively the Royals knocked on the door the first four innings with solid contact and finally broke through in the fifth inning when they scored 4 runs to go up 4-3. Jeff Althamar (3-for-4) led off the rally with a double and later scored the Royals' first run on a groundball by Thomas Woodruff. Jackson Reuter and Cy Kerber added RBI doubles and Gunnar Boley had a sacrifice fly.
However, the Royals couldn't hold onto the lead as the Indians strung together three singles in the seventh inning to tie the game at 4-4. Kerber took the loss in relief, surrendering 3 runs in 2 innings of work.
The Royals left the potential winning run stranded at third base in the seventh inning and the potential tying runs at second and third base in the eighth inning.
Larkin (3-2) did have 8 hits in the game and fanned only five times.
"I thought we put the barrel on the ball and hit it hard more than we have our first few games," Esterino said. "We just had a lot of at 'em balls. Nobody likes a loss, but we did a lot of things well out there today. So, we will build on the positives and continue to work to fix the negatives."