Crestview holds off United
HANOVERTON – After getting shutout 10-0 by Crestview on Monday, United hoped to find more offense for their rematch on Tuesday.
As successful as the Eagles were, Crestview found even more.
The Rebels handed United a 14-10 defeat on Tuesday that threatened to be delayed by darkness as the two teams slugged out a three-hour offensive display.
“Yesterday we did not swing the bat,” United coach Bob Manfull said. “All we tried to do today was put the ball in play and see what happens. Some good things happened today.”
Despite the similar offensive output, the two teams couldn’t have had more different strategies. United employed a small-ball approach that focused more on contact than power. This included several bunts to move runners into scoring position as well as a thrilling steal of home in the fourth inning by Garrett Beech.
Manfull credited the team’s gritty style of play to increased team effort. “This is something we hope to snowball for the rest of the season,” Manfull said. “This was a huge game. Our kids showed a lot of character.”
Crestview (9-3), however, utilized patience at the plate to put runners on base. The Rebels drew 11 walks, then used its power hitters, such as Brandon Jayne, to knock them around for runs. Jayne hit a three-run home run in the first inning.
No matter how much power Crestview displayed, United was pesky enough to remain within striking distance until the game’s final out, unlike Monday’s shutout.
“It was a new day,” Crestview coach Matt Strank said. “All of that was 24 hours ago. Anything can happen, especially in baseball. We didn’t play as effectively as we could, but we ended up getting the win and that’s what’s important.”
Tuesday’s marathon was a stark contrast to Monday’s game – Crestview pulled out the win in less than two hours. Still, Strank was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We thought, coming into today, that we might have a repeat of yesterday,” Strank said. “It didn’t work out that way. My hat’s off to United. They played a great game. Fortunately, we played well enough to win the game.”
After the Jayne home run, it looked as if Crestview would pull away easily. However, United scored a run in the first, then used a three-RBI single in the second by Stefon Leyman to grab the lead.
In the third inning, Crestview would explode for six runs on three hits and three walks. It was a lead that the Rebels would never give up, though United managed to answer with three runs of their own in the fourth.
Errors also played a major factor for Crestview’s offense – United commited six errors in the game, with Crestview runs coming in each inning an error was committed.
“That’s something we’ve been struggling with every game,” Manfull said. “We try to eliminate it but it just hasn’t happened yet. It’s something we need to improve on.”
Crestview was led by Evan Nentwick, who had a pair of singles and an RBI, as well as Anthony Marnejon, who had an important two-RBI double in the sixth inning to help put away United.
Leyman had three singles and a game-high six RBIs for the Golden Eagles. Andrew Martin contributed a pair of singles, while Andrew Birk added an RBI single.
United will travel to Lisbon today to complete a rained-out game. Crestview will host South Range on Thursday.