By BRAD KEITH
(March 14, 2018) — It was a case of whatever can go wrong will go wrong at James T. Young Baseball Field Tuesday night.
For both teams.
After three hours and then some of usually sloppy and occasionally downright ugly baseball consisting of 24 total runs, 20 hits and 16 errors Venus turned away an attempt at a second big comeback by Stephenville and won 14-10 in the District 8-4A opener for each.
The Yellow Jackets (5-7-2, 0-1) saw a 5-3 lead slip away when Venus scored five times in the top of the fourth, but they quickly climbed out of the 8-5 hole with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
But when the Bulldogs batted around the next inning, too, Stephenville was out of answers and Venus finally refused to stop giving away those answers in the form of errors.
The Bulldogs committed 11 errors leading to six unearned runs scored by Stephenville. Twice Trevor Easter hit into not one but two errors, and later hit into another for five total errors in three at bats.
The five errors actually hurt Stephenville more than the hardly fathomable total by Venus. The Jacket miscues actually led to eight unearned runs by Venus, and Stephenville used four pitchers, Venus just two.
In the absence of the injured Easton Jones, varsity newcomer Daniel Luna has surfaced as the team’s No. 1 pitcher. He entered district play with a 1.02 earned run average, but that did not last. In 3.1 of the longest inning simaginable, Luna yielded five earned runs, more than doubling his ERA for the season. Meanwhile errors made way for three other Venus scores for eight total runs charged to Luna, who allowed six hits, struck out two and walked two.
Zane Smith came on for 2.0 innings while six more Venus runs scored, just one of those earned. Like luna he gave up six hits, sat two batters down on strikes and issued a pair of walks.
The Yellow Jackets were better in the field over the final five outs. Caleb Smith got four of them including two strikeouts and no Venus runs scored after property left on the bases by Zane Smith was cleared out. The final two outs were achieved by Caleb Dunavant, one of those by strikeout, and he also did not allow a hit.
Stephenville scored a run each in the home half of the fifth and the seventh, but it did little more than make it closer on paper and last longer.
Four Venus batters – Tyler Henrich (1-of-4), Cameron Buck (1-of-4), Alex Jackson (1-of-4) and Isaac murray (2-for-5 with two doubles) – had drove in two runs each. Hayden Grimes was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Alex Gore provided Venus with a double, giving the Bulldogs three hits for extra bases.
Clay Krause hit a home run, just the third of the year for Stephenville, the fourth over the past two seasons. He had another big hit in the following inning, finishing 2-for-4 with 3 RBI. Gabe Moore went 2-for-5 from the plate and would have had an RBI if a balk had not already brought that run home from third one pitch before he drove a double into the outfield.
The Jackets had three extra base hits – the other a triple by Gage Graham.
Stephenville visits Midlothian Heritage Friday, but not at 7 p.m. as originally scheduled. The game has been moved up to 4 p.m. following junior varsity at 1:30 p.m.