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Baseball’s one-run games have certain requirements

By Staff | May 3, 2019

A baseball is pitched, during Shepherd’s game against Notre Dame on Sunday. David Pennock

SHEPHERDSTOWN – One-run baseball games measure a team’s spirit, unselfishness and a player’s willingness to contribute in some positive way.

The contribution can be without camouflage as seen with some offense, base running or getting on base. A defensive gem or holding an opponent to only one base on an apparent double are valuable to any win that comes by only a single run.

Prior to this past weekend, Shepherd had a nifty 29-11 overall record and had slugged its way to at least 10 runs in 18 games.

But when the games were close, the Rams were only 2-5, and dipped to 2-7 with a pair of one-run losses to conference rival Notre Dame at Fairfax Field.

The Rams came into a four-game series against Notre Dame’s Falcons, sporting a .342 team batting average and easily leading the Mountain East Conference with 60 home runs.

Brenton Doyle saves a baseball from going out of the park on Sunday, during Shepherd’s game against Notre Dame. David Pennock

Two weeks ago, Shepherd had four players with batting averages over the .400 mark. Those players along with Justin Smith and Syeed Mahdi had muscled most of the offensive load and the Rams had bashed their way into first place in the North Division.

However, others had not done much of anything favorable on offense or in the field.

The .400 hitters and Smith and Mahdi weren’t going to get on base, drive in runs and score runs in every game. The others would have to be brushed off the major player’s coattails and contribute somewhere, somehow.

It didn’t happen against Notre Dame. The Falcons defeated Shepherd, 5-4 and 2-1, in two games of the four-game series.

The .400 hitters weren’t close to providing the sort of firepower they had previously brought with them. Did some other players pick up the cudgel and do enough to turn a one-run game in Shepherd’s favor? No. Not offensively. Not defensively. Not with clever base running or previously unseen defensive prowess.

When the .400 hitters, Mahdi and Smith were stymied, so were the Rams in actually losing three straight to the Falcons.

On Sunday, April 28, Notre Dame defeated the Rams, 2-1, limiting the Shepherd offense to two hits and taking full advantage four infield errors in the first two innings to win. Notre Dame had no earned runs off Shepherd pitcher Steve Bowley. Two runs were enough when the bottom third of the Shepherd batting order went 0-for-8 as a threesome.

Brenton Doyle was slumping. Daniel Keer had seen his batting average drop nearly 60 points. Eddie Nottingham was tailing off and Smith hadn’t driven in many runs for two weeks. Where was the help from those who had ridden along on the hitting bandwagon those players had provided for many weeks? They didn’t contribute on offense and they didn’t contribute on defense. And when the games were close, Shepherd lost.