Despite numerous scoring opportunities, the Decatur Eagles (4-11) could not get their bats going Wednesday afternoon against the Gunter Tigers, the state’s No. 7 team in Class 2A.
Gunter scored five late runs to pull away for a 5-0 victory.
“We just didn’t hit the ball well enough,” Decatur coach Chris Carter said. “We had a couple of opportunities with a couple of runners on, but we couldn’t manufacture anything. We just didn’t put the ball in play as well as we needed to win the game.”
Starting pitcher Dewey Dovel did a nice job early of keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard. Gunter got runners on in each of the first three innings, but Dovel squandered any scoring threat with a strikeout to end each of the innings.
He almost got out of trouble again in the fourth, but a throwing error on a toss to the plate allowed the first run of the game.
“He [Dovel] struggled a bit with the strike zone, but he did a good job of working back through hitters and keeping us in the game,” Carter said. “We just didn’t give him a whole lot of support.”
Decatur got runners on in the third and the fourth innings, but they ended both threats by lining out to the outfield.
Gunter put the game away in the sixth. Rhett Taylor led off the inning with an infield hit and then stole second.
With one out, Hunter Williams came through with a single. One batter later Taylor came across on a throwing error to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
After a couple of walks, Carter decided to pull Dovel and went to Drew Edwards.
Edwards immediately gave up a two-run single to Dylan Hidgon. A wild pitch allowed one more to score in the inning, giving Gunter the deciding margin.
“His pitch count was way up there,” Carter said about the pitching move. “It also looked like he was losing some velocity.”
The Eagles begin district play Tuesday at Gainesville, and Carter says there are numerous things that need to get better.
“We are making too many mistakes in the field, and we’ve got to hit the ball better than we did today to compete,” Carter said. “We’ve got some really good teams in our district this year.
“Everybody I’ve looked at is winning their games, so we are going to have do a better job of throwing strikes, hitting the baseball and do a better job of fielding.”
Dovel took the loss, giving up an earned run and striking out 10.
Cain Lowe and Erik Elder led the offense, with two hits each.