Huntington errors prove costly in blowout loss to ACCS

Published 12:34 am Saturday, February 20, 2010

NATCHEZ — Exhibition games are usually meant to fine-tune a team and find out which different lineup and pitcher combinations work best.

For Huntington head coach Matt Mason, however, the latest exhibition against Adams County Christian School in the ACCS Preseason Baseball Tournament was more like an ominous sign of things to come if the Hounds’ fundamental play doesn’t drastically improve.

Victimized by multiple throwing and fielding errors, the Hounds fell to ACCS 18-0 Friday in a blowout that left Mason with very little to say afterwards. Despite having few words, however, Mason didn’t sugarcoat anything.

“That was as bad a performance as I’ve ever seen from a team I coached,” Mason said. “Every starter made an error but one, and that’s only because he didn’t have a ball hit to him.

“We have a lot to fix, both mentally and physically, or it’s going to be a long season.”

The loss dropped Huntington to 1-2 in exhibition games, while the Rebels improved to 3-0. ACCS head coach Hunter McKievier said he was pleased with his team’s approach at the plate, and in the field.

“Overall, this was a team effort,” McKievier said. “We hit very well, had a patient eye and made some plays in the field defensively.”

The Rebels set the tone early, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Jake Brumfield reached on an error that knocked teammate Bryce Murray in for the first run, and starting pitcher Christopher Perry followed up with a two-run blast.

“It’s always important to get off to a good start and be able to pitch with a lead,” McKievier said.

And doing so helped Perry settle into the game, he added.

“Perry went all three innings, giving up just two hits and striking out five,” McKievier said. “He came out throwing strikes, and was able to locate his fastball and be effective with it.

“He struggled with his curve ball until that last inning, when he was able to get a better feel for it. Usually, once you lose confidence in a pitch, your mentality is to give up and stop throwing it. To his credit, he stayed positive and was able to turn it around.”

ACCS tapped on four more runs in the second inning. Murray scored Rusty Blackwell on a double to center field, and Brandon Sanders drove him in on a single to center. Several at-bats later, Perry scored on a passed ball, but teammate Landon Givens was thrown out at third right afterwards for the final out of the inning.

The Rebels added 11 runs over the next two innings before the game was called at the hour-and-a-half mark. Huntington starter Jess Dossett made it to just the third inning before being pulled.

McKievier said the exhibition games were useful in determining who can and can’t play at this time.

“We saw enough to determine who can play where, and whether they can hit,” McKievier said.

“They say defense wins championships, and that may be true, but you have to be able to hit, too. Hitting is going to be key for us this season.