By Rob Potter
LIBERTY May 12, 2006 The Eldred Yellowjackets fell behind twice during Tuesday afternoons non-league baseball game versus the host Liberty Indians.
But Eldred used timely hitting to quickly tie the game and take the lead on both of those occasions.
Those key hits and a great pitching performance by Walter Kreidell allowed the Yellowjackets to post a 5-3 victory.
With the win, Eldred improved its record to 4-5. Liberty fell to 4-7 on the season.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. The first batter of the frame, Rob Silva, reached base on a walk. He advanced to third base when the next two batters, Pete Panagakos and Jacob Kirsch, were able to put down sacrifice bunts. Moments later, Silva scored on a passed ball.
Eldred wasted little time in erasing Libertys advantage. Mike Prunka led off the top of the third with a solid single to center field. The next batter, Tyler King, smashed a triple to right field. Prunka scored easily on the hit, knotting the score at 1-1.
King crossed home plate later in the frame on a passed ball to give the Yellowjackets a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Indians scored twice to regain the lead. The first batter of the frame, Scott Hamlin, singled to left field. Silva then crushed a pitch from Kreidell, sending the ball into deep right field. As Silva made his way to third, Hamlin trotted home to tie the contest. Two batters later, Silva crossed the plate when Kirsch ripped a triple to left field.
Eldred scored three runs in the top of the sixth to take a two-run advantage. Nick McCormick walked to lead off the frame. Two batters later, McCormick, who had made his way to third base on a steal and an error, sprinted home on a suicide squeeze bunt by Prunka.
Prunka promptly stole second base and scored on a base hit by King. Moments later, J.T. Vogt ripped a single to right field. King scored on the hit, which boosted the Yellowjackets lead to 5-3.
Kreidell held the Indians without a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Prunka earned the save by pitching a scoreless seventh. The senior right-hander issued a walk and gave up a single in the frame, but then got two strikeouts to seal the Yellowjackets victory.
Kreidell, a senior left-hander, earned the win. He gave up five hits and struck out three batters.
It was a good ball game, Eldred Coach Frank Kean said. Walter did a great job on the mound today. He kept their batters off stride.
McCormick paced the Yellowjackets offense with three hits.
Liberty Coach John Wilhelm agreed that his hitters had trouble with Kreidell.
We kept popping the ball up, he said. We got the bat on the ball, but it went right to one of their fielders.
While his team made a few mistakes during the contest, Wilhelm didnt use the miscues as excuses for the loss.
Eldred played a good game, he commented. They made plays and did what they needed to in order to get the win.