By Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE The Tri-Valley Bears hosted the Eldred Yellowjackets in a non-league baseball game last Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the cold and wet conditions, both teams played well and Eldred recorded a 15-10 victory.
After preventing the Yellowjackets from scoring in the top of the first inning, T-V (7-15) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame.
Eldred (5-7) tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the second as Bob Moriggia scored on a single by Chris Mehedin.
The Bears took a 3-1 advantage in the bottom of the second. Matt Garigliano singled home Bo Murphy and Brandon Edwards crossed the plate on a hit by Jake Gray.
Eldred took the momentum and the lead in the third inning by scoring five runs. Mike Walton slammed a single to left field to bring home teammates Kevin Prunka and Joe Mariana.
Walton later scored on a single by Bryan Henry.
Henry and Justin Smith scored on a single by Mehedin to give the Yellowjackets a 6-3 advantage.
In the bottom of the third, T-V’s Tim Martin scored on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Yager to make it a two-run game.
Smith gave Eldred a 7-4 lead when his two-out single in the top of the fourth allowed Prunka to cross home plate.
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Prunka made it to third base on a Bears’ error which also allowed all three baserunners Henry, Mehedin and Nick Simonelli to score.
Prunka crossed the plate when Joe Mariana grounded out, which gave Eldred an 11-4 lead.
T-V closed its deficit to 11-6 in the bottom of the fifth as Yager slammed a double to bring home Brendan Musa and Martin scored on a passed ball.
In the top of the sixth, Simonelli ripped a single into left field, bringing home teammates Bob Warden and Henry.
T-V pitcher Dan Byrne recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, T-V teammates Garigliano and Matt Bogorad both reached base. But they were unable to come around and score.
The first four Yellowjacket batters in the top of the seventh reached base, either by getting a hit or because of a Bears’ error.
Smith and Moriggia both earned an RBI in the frame.
Byrne then struck out the next three Eldred batters to end the inning.
Down by nine runs, T-V attempted to rally in its final at bat. The Bears got off to a good start as the first four batters singled. After the first out of the frame was recorded, Edwards hit a single to bring home Yager. Jesse Brown belted a double to center field, which enabled both Murphy and Edwards to score.
Eldred Coach Frank Kean then called a timeout to talk to his players.
The Yellowjackets’ pitcher, Mehedin, recorded a strikeout to bring his team one step closer to victory.
Bogorad kept the Bears’ hopes alive by hitting a single. After pinch runner Sean Drown entered the game for Bogorad, Byrne drew a walk.
Kean called another timeout to bring in Moriggia to take over for Mehedin on the mound.
With two outs and two runners on base, Moriggia preserved the Yellowjackets’ 15-10 win by inducing a fly ball to right field for the final out.
“We finally hit today, for the past five games in a row we had no hitting,” Kean said. “The third inning was key and it was a turning point for us to win the game.”
T-V Coach John Rusin noted that his team “had a 0-4 record when returning from [our trip to] South Carolina.
“We were on a pretty good roll as we battled back to a 7-6 record, but between injuries and other things that arose, we were on a losing streak,” Rusin said.
“We tip our hats to Eldred,” he added. “Eldred took advantage of our mistakes, their pitcher was good and they were good on the bases.”