Union Junior Legion coaches Donnie Vinson and Craig King are using Monday’s 12-8 loss to Gaffney as a learning tool.
“There were lots of fielding errors because we were out of position in some places,” said King. “That’s my fault, but it will not happen again.”
Gaffney scratched the first run across in the top of the first and added another in the second before Union’s Grayland Fowler touched home off a hit courtesy of Jacob Roper for a 2-1 score.
Gaffney plated a single run in the third and used a burst of hits in the fourth to extend the lead to 8-1.
Union picked up two in the bottom of the inning when Bradley McKeown smacked an RBI double and then scored on a passed ball.
With momentum building, Union collected a couple of runs in the fifth to close the gap to 8-5. Danny Glenn led off the inning with a single to short left and Kennedy Beatty doubled to center field, scoring Glenn. David Burris RBI singled before a double play and a fly out ended the rally.
Pitching woes continued for Union throughout the contest and a hit batsman followed by a walk led to a conference on the mound. King elected to stay with Beatty, who was pitching in relief of Roper and Union saw a double down the third base line score two runs before three fly outs got Beatty out of the inning.
A ground out, a base running error, and a strikeout sent Union back into the field where Gaffney extended its lead to 12-5.
In the bottom of the seventh, Union mounted a comeback when Roper and Glenn drew back to back walks and Beatty pounded out his second RBI double. Burris hit a shot that the second baseman couldn’t handle which scored Beatty before a double play and a strikeout ended the run, dashing Union’s hopes of an opening season victory.
After last year’s trip to the State tournament, King and Vinson feel that teams are gunning for Union and realize that no one can be overlooked.
“We’ve got to take this one game at a time and not be focusing on State,” said King. “Tomorrow’s a new day. Gage (Eaves) will start on the mound and you’ll see a new defensive lineup.”