By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Sometimes, it just isn’t your day at the ballpark.
That was the case Thursday afternoon for the Goshen College baseball team, as the Maple Leafs struggled in all three phases of the game in an MCC doubleheader sweep by visiting University of Saint Francis.
The Cougars turned a close early contest into a 16-3 blowout in the opener, then shut out Goshen, 6-0 in the nightcap to improve to 8-13 overall on the 2012 season (4-0 MCC). Goshen dropped to 7-12, 0-4.
The Maple Leafs managed just seven hits in the first game and mustered just five in the nightcap.
Poor defense plagued Goshen in both games, as the Maple Leafs committed six errors in the first game and four in the second game.
“We didn’t play well in the field today, and that can sometimes spill over into other areas of the game,” Goshen coach Eric Screeton said. “We need to learn how to put a bad play behind us and move on.”
Goshen, trailing 2-1 in the home half of the second, rallied with a pair of runs to take a lead that turned out to be short-lived. With one out, catcher Benjamin Kelly singled. Caleb Yoder reached on an error, putting runners ant first and second. Talley singled home a run to tie the contest at 2, and after a Corey Johnson single loaded the bases, Zach Vanlandingham put the Maple Leafs up 3-2 with a sacrifice fly.
The lead held up until the top of the fourth, when the Cougars scored a pair of runs to go up 4-3. Saint Francis erupted for seven runs in the top of the fifth, taking advantage of a couple of Goshen errors to break the game open.
In the second game, the Maple Leafs weren’t able to put together must of an offensive threat. Their best chance to get in the board came in the bottom of the second, when Andy Swisher walked with one out, moved to second on a passed ball, and was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on a C.J. Talley single.
Saint Francis coach Greg Roberts said his team did a good job of taking advantage of Goshen’s fielding struggles.
“To win, you have to take advantage of those opportunities when they are given to you, and we did that today,” Roberts said.
It was a great day at the plate for Concord product David Yoder. The Cougars’ sophomore center fielder was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs in the first game, and followed that up with a 2-for-3 effort with a run scored and an RBI in the second game.
“I was seeing the ball well out there today,” Yoder said.
There’s no science, rhyme or reason to “seeing the ball well,” Yoder added.
“Some days it happens, and other days it doesn’t. That’s baseball,” Yoder said.
Yoder was proud to be a major contributor to the doubleheader sweep, which helped the Cougars get out to a 4-0 conference mark.
Saint Francis entered conference play at 4-13 overall.
Saint Francis swept Goshen in Fort Wayne on Tuesday, winning the first game, 3-1 and taking the nightcap, 9-4.
The Maple Leafs return to action on Saturday when they take on MCC foe Taylor, a preseason NAIA Top-25 squad. The No. 25-ranked Trojans are 10-10 overall in 2012 (3-1 MCC). First pitch for the first game is slated for 1 p.m.