BEVERLY – The Fort Frye Cadets used a four-run fifth inning and some outstanding starting pitching from sophomore Tanner Rice to score a home opening, 6-2 win over the Shenandoah Zeps in a Pioneer Valley Conference contest Tuesday evening.
Rice went the distance, allowing just three Shenandoah base hits while striking out five and walking just one.
“That was the first time Tanner has started a varsity game and he did a whale of a job,” said Fort Frye head coach Sonny Bidwell. “He was excited but he was able to keep his concentration and we played pretty good defense behind him.”
For four innings Rice and Shenandoah starting pitcher Ryan Lovette hooked up in a pretty good pitchers dual as both right handers allowed only single runs in the first and third innings.
The Zeps got on the board first when Lovette led off the game with a single, stole both second and third and scored on a ground out off the bat of Kaleb Thompson.
The Fort tied things up in the bottom of the first on a run scoring single by Isaac Klinger.
After a scoreless second inning, both teams traded runs in the third to send the game to the middle innings tied at 2-2.
The Cadets broke things open in the last of the fifth off of Lovette and it all started with one of four Shenandoah errors the Zeps committed in the game.
Trent Bradford reached on an error to begin the pivotal fifth and moved up a base when shortstop Chandler Lang drew a walk.
Klinger followed with his second RBI single of the game to give the Cadets their first lead and Derek Layton followed with a two- run single of his own to make it a 5-2 game.
After a sacrifice bunt by Colten Shuster, Cadet catcher Drew Layton singled in his brother with the sixth Cadet run of the game.
“We were able to break things open there in the fifth by being able to move runners and by running the bases intelligently,” said Bidwell. “We answered back early and then got a little more aggressive with the sticks in the fifth.”
The four-run lead allowed Rice to relax a little bit on the mound in the final two innings as he set the Zeps down while allowing just one base runner the rest of the way.
Rice was credited with the win, while Lovette was saddled with the loss despite allowing just seven hits and three earned runs in his six innings on the hill.
Klinger and Drew Layton each finished with a pair of RBI’s to lead the Fort Frye offense, while Lang scored a pair of runs from the lead off spot in the Fort lineup.
Devin Appold had the only other hit in the game for the John Lovette-led Zeps.
Despite the win, Bidwell sees plenty of room for improvement in his young team.
“We still have a lot to work on,” said the veteran head coach, whose team is scheduled to play a total of four more games in the next four days. “We are far away from being the fundamentally sound team we want to be, but we are getting better day by day.”
Shenandoah will travel to Lore City Thursday to take on Buckeye Trail in another PVC match up while the Cadets will stay in conference as well when they travel to Caldwell today to take on the Redskins.
LADY CADETS 4 LADY ZEPS 3
Mikaela Dyar scored all the way from second base on a Shenandoah fielding error as the Fort Frye Lady Cadets scored a walk-off 4-3 victory over the Lady Zeps Tuesday night.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Dyar led off with a single and moved to second on a solid base hit by Courtney Allen to put runners on first and second.
Cadet shortstop Hali LeMasters then grounded hard up the middle and the Shenandoah throw to first got away from the first baseman as Dyar raced home with the game winning run.
On an extremely windy evening, the two PVC rivals both got outstanding pitching performances by Jenna Cowgill for the Zeps and Jada Baker for the Fort.
Shenandoah got the scoring started with an unearned run off of Baker in the top of the first but the Cadets answered quickly with run scoring singles by Natalie Smith and Tanner Booth in the last half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead.
Baker experienced a little bit of wildness in the top of the third as she walked a pair of Shenandoah hitters and misfired on a pair of wild pitches to put the Zeps back in front by a 3-2 margin.
Fort Frye evened things up once again in the bottom of the third when Allen tripled and scored on a ground ball to even the score at 3-3.
Both Baker and Cowgill settled down nicely after the third as both pitchers held their opponents scoreless over the next three frames to set up the dramatic finish.
Baker retired eight hitters in a row at one time while Cowgill was just as sharp as she held the Fort hitless over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Lady Zeps threatened in the top of the seventh with two out on a Cadet error and a base on balls but Baker got Kelsey McKinzie to fly out to center field to leave the two runners stranded.
Baker allowed just five hits and two earned runs to notch the complete game victory, while Cowgill allowed six hits and two earned runs in her six plus innings of work to take the hard-luck loss.
Cowgill also had a good day at the plate as she led the Shenandoah offense with a double and a single, while Allen was the only Cadet stick with more than one hit.
Both teams are scheduled to return to action tonight as Shenandoah travels to Linsley and the Cadets visit the Caldwell Lady Redskins.