It was another night of what could have been for Sherman baseball.
The Bearcats gave up 12 hits and left seven runners on base as they fell 6-3 to Denton Braswell in District 5-5A on Friday night at Veterans Field.
“It’s tough. When you give up 12 hits, it’s hard to beat anybody,” Sherman head coach Justin Jennings said. “We didn’t throw it very well and we had some opportunities here or there but we didn’t get it done.”
Things started off slow on both sides offensively through the first three innings but Sherman starter Harrison Key spent much of that time working through jams.
After giving up a double and a single to start the top of the second, Key escaped without giving up a run — collecting a strikeout, a fielder’s choice and a groundout in the process.
The third inning featured a similar scenario with two runners on and he managed to get out of that as well.
The fortune ran out for Key in the fourth inning as the Bengals (13-8, 3-1) put three runs on the board thanks to RBI singles by Tanner Landino and Drake Ayala and a groundout by Nathan Love. He had two runners reach base on a hit by pitch and an error before being replaced by Colton West in the fifth inning.
Key finished his night giving up seven hits and five runs on 93 pitches.
“Harrison’s pitch count was up early and they hit us a lot,” Jennings said. “We’re actually fortunate to only give up six runs and we have to a better job of getting ahead of the count.”
Offensively, the Bearcats (5-14, 3-3) were able to respond in the fourth inning after a slow start that saw them leave five base runners on in the first three innings.
Sherman loaded the bases with the first three batters thanks to a Blaise Bentsen hit by pitch, a Trey Holtzclaw walk and a Tate Bethel bunt single.
Ryan Ortiz broke through with a hard double into the left-center field gap that plated two runs. The third run scored after a groundout by DJ Hester.
As was the case in the previous three innings, opportunities presented itself for Sherman to tack on more runs. However, that was halted after after Ethan Bedgood grounded out with runners on second and third to end the inning.
“I never would’ve expected the offensive output on both sides tonight,” Jennings said. “We have to do a better job of preparing our kids.”
“We’re striking out too much and we just need to put the ball in play more,” Ortiz said about the team’s offensive struggles. “Also, we need to just keep fighting it off if we’re behind.”
Denton Braswell was able to take advantage of its chances in the fifth inning with two runs driven in by Logan Quan and Chase Fields and another in the sixth inning with an RBI single by Jeremiah Gonzalez.
The trio combined to finish 5-for-11 with four runs driven in.
Meanwhile, the Bearcats managed to squeeze out just two more hits after the fourth inning and could not muster a counter to the Bengals’ offensive surge.
The loss is the third in district play for Sherman—all of which have come at home. As the Bearcats move forward, their goal is to break out of the home field struggles.
“We have to play better at home and everyone knows it,” Jennings said, “The kids know it and we talk about it. We haven’t played well at home and we just weren’t very good tonight.”