Havoc on base paths leads to Triad triumph

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Jacob Jenkins of Triad fields a throw from the outfield as a Riverside runner approaches the plate. Jenkins tallied the out to help the Cardinals take an 8-3 win over the Pirates.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)

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Triad’s varsity baseball squad reached the .500 mark with an 8-3 triumph over Riverside on Thursday.
The win, which evened the Cardinals’ record at 8-8, came on the back of solid running on the base paths during a big fifth inning.
Triad scored the game-winning run and added five more for a little insurance.
Triad assistant coach Taylor Nehls, who spoke for the team, said the Cards have been winning ball games all year by using smart running.
“We were just trying to create havoc on the base paths,” he said. “We are usually pretty good about doing that.
“We didn’t do that the first couple of innings, but we picked it up in the fifth.”
The game started slowly for both teams as Blake Boldman got the nod to take the mound to start the game for Triad.
He held the Pirates at bay through four innings, picking up two K’s.
Boldman also coaxed Riverside to hit several ground balls that the Cards’ defense picked up with ease.
The Cardinals also had their own early struggles against the Pirates’ pitching
A stiff breeze coming into right field held the ball high in the sky for easy pop fly catches.
Despite the blustery conditions, Triad notched solo runs in the third and fourth innings by putting down keys bunts to work the base paths.
Nehls said the Cardinals are used to the windy conditions and have learned ground balls are how to win home games.
“These kids are used to it,” he said. “They have been playing on this field for a long time. We just try to hit the ball on the ground and keep it out of the air.
“When you hit the ball in the air, it goes 50-70 feet back into the field, so we just try to teach them keep it backside, go for the wind and hope for the best.”
The Pirates answered their 2-0 deficit in the fourth by putting three on the board to take the lead.
Riverside got runners on base by a hit batsman and a walk.
The Pirates followed with some timely hitting to take a 3-2 lead at the end of the fourth inning.
Triad head coach Gary Davis opted to bring in lefty Isaiah Bruce in the mound.
Bruce earned the win while tallying four strikeouts.
He was credited with the victory after the Cardinals scored six runs in the fifth.
The remaining inning and a half were quiet as neither team advanced a runner past first base.
Nehls said the win shows what the Cardinals are capable of when they are able to get on base.
“I think we are playing pretty well right now,” he said. “If we get on the base paths in any way, we are going to cause havoc and produce runs.
“We produce a lot, but you’ve got to find a way to get on to make that happen.”
Triad will return to the diamond today at Madison Plains.



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