By RYAN INGRAM
FORT WAYNE —
The Jeff/GRC All-Stars suffered a 13-3 loss to South Bend Waggoner on Saturday afternoon at the state tournament opener at Fort Wayne.
Jeff has a day off before facing either Valparaiso, Dyer, Elwood or Evansville Golfmoor in an elimination game on Monday.
On Saturday, Jeff gave up an uncharacteristic nine unearned runs in the loss.
“Mentally, for the first time in this [post-season tournament] run, we had some breakdowns,” Jeff coach Chuck Latham said following the game. “We didn’t pitch badly, but defensively we made a few errors that cost us.”
In the top of the third, Jeff made two crucial fielding errors, to load the bases. Waggoner was able to cash in on those mistakes with a grand slam that led to a nine-run third inning.
Jeff’s Drew Fifer reached on an error by the shortstop with two outs in the bottom of the third. Turon Mitchell came in to pinch run for Fifer and moved to third on Brady Latham’s double to deep center field.
Mitchell came in to score on a grounder by Drew Taylor that was mishandled at first base, putting Jeff on the scoreboard. Luke Stock followed with a single to bring home Latham and Ethan English drew a walk to load the bases for Jeff. The bases were left loaded, however, as Jack Ellis went down on strikes.
Jeff trailed 9-2 after three innings and Waggoner’s lead ballooned to 11-2 after the fourth.
When Latham led off the bottom of the fifth with a triple to the gap in right center, it looked as if Jeff might rally. Latham came in to score on a groundout off the bat of Taylor. Stock flied out and English grounded out to end the threat with Jeff trailing 11-3. The RBI was Taylor’s second of the contest.
Jeff’s All-Stars aren’t going to lose hope going foreward.
“Losing this early could potentially benefit us because we won’t play until Monday night,” Chuck Latham said. “Most teams up here have had a week or so to rest. With our district ending later than most, we didn’t have the pitching, but we’ll have all of our pitchers Monday.
“We are still very optimistic. We are still very positive. Our goal right now is to get three more wins and get into the semifinals. We’re gonna get a little breather, get some practice in and get back out there ready to go.”
SOUTH BEND WAGGONER 13, JEFF/GRC 3
Jeffersonville 009 202—13 14 2
SB Waggoner 002 010— 3 4 4
2B — Farrisee (W), Coleman (W), Kilma (W), Anderson (W), Latham (J). 3B — Latham (J). HR — Rotkis (W), Coleman (W).
Records — Jeffersonville 0-1, South Bend Waggoner 1-0.