By CHUCK HATHCOCK
It wasn’t the kind of day that Kirk Academy head baseball coach Nathan Moncrief hoped it would be for his squad.
Saturday, the Raiders opened division play at home against Bayou. Kirk wanted to get off to a good start in league play, but that didn’t happen.
In the opener, four unearned runs were the difference as Bayou came away with a 4-2 win. Game 2 saw Bayou jump to an 11-0 lead and win a 13-5 decision.
With the losses, Kirk drops to 2-3 on the season.
“Hopefully, we will learn from these games and get better,” Moncrief said. “We can use the games in one of two ways. They can be used to get you better or be a snowball effect for the rest of the season.”
The story of the game was the pitching of veteran lefthander John Kenneth Brower. Brower pitched a complete game, but was the victim of poor defense. Three errors led to four unearned runs. He walked just two and struck out five.
“John Kenneth did an outstanding job,” Moncrief said. “We didn’t support him defensively. When you make that many errors, you aren’t going to win many games.”
Another sore point in the loss was the offensive struggles by the Raiders.
“Offensively, we didn’t do a good job of adjusting at the plate until later,” Moncrief said. “When we did that, we were able to get a couple of runs.”
Bayou got three of its runs in the top of the second. Kirk narrowed the deficit to 3-2 with two runs in the fourth.
Consecutive singles from Chris Parella, Josh Branscome, and Jordan Hobbs loaded the bases. Brower drew a walk to send home a run. The second run scored following a single from Peyton Box.
The Raiders finished the opening game with eight hits. Dalton Turner and Box both had two hits. Hunter Dees, Jordan Hobbs, Parella, and Branscome all added a hit.
The Colts scored in five of seven innings in the nightcap. Bayou finished with 17 hits.
“I thought part of the second game was an effect of the first game,” Moncrief said. “From a pitching standpoint, we didn’t do a good job of locating our fastball and we telegraphed our breaking pitch.”
Kirk had eight hits in the second game. Cole Crenshaw, Turner, and Hobbs all had two hits. Dees and Brower finished with a hit.
Wyatt Harrison was the losing pitcher going 1 2/3 innings allowing six hits and four earned runs. He walked two and struck out one. Dees went the next 4 2/3 innings allowing seven hits and seven earned runs. He recorded four strikeouts. Clay Ralston went the final 2/3 allowing one hit.
Kirk was scheduled to return to action today at Carroll Academy. Action begins with the junior varsity at 1 p.m. followed by the varsity. Thursday, the Raiders will travel to Cleveland to face Bayou. JV action begins at 4 p.m. with the varsity set for 6 p.m.
The week closes with games at Oak Hill Academy in West Point Friday. Kirk faces the host school at 2 p.m. followed by Lamar School at 5 p.m.