Bud's, Mill Run fit to be tied
Going into Wednesday's Fayette County Baseball League second-round playoff opener, the managers of Bud Murphy's and Mill Run knew their best-of-five series was likely to be a hard-fought battle between evenly matched teams. In fact, the teams were so evenly matched that the first game of the series ended in a 6-6 tie after seven innings.
'It was a well-played game by both teams,' Mill Run manager Bugs Orndorff said.
Prior to the match-up, both Bugs Orndorff and Bud's manager Tom Sankovich said pitching would be key, and both managers got good efforts on the mound.
Mill Run hurler Chris Brunson gave up eight hits and struck out five, while Bud Murphy's Marty Fagler fanned 12.
'Pitching was great, I thought,' Bugs Orndorff said, and Tom Sankovich agreed.
'Our pitcher pitched a great game,' he said. 'Twelve strikeouts, and we didn't win the ball game.'
Mill Run jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Cokers rallied for the tie.
'You can't give Bud Murphy's an inch, or they'll come back at you, and they'll take a mile,' Bugs Orndorff said.
In the early part of the game, though, it was all Mill Run, as Dennis Show walked and scored on Kris Firestone's single in the first. Mill Run added four more runs in the third, thanks to three big hits.
Ray Orndorff led off the inning with a ground-rule double to center field, and Jeremy Miller's two-bagger brought Ray Orndorff home. John Warrick singled in Miller, and Jeff Kooser's base hit put two men on for Brian Shearer, who brought them both around with a double.
Meanwhile, Bud Murphy's battled against both Mill Run's defense and their own base running mistakes.
'Base running cost us the game today,' Tom Sankovich said. 'It definitely cost us one run. It really hurt us today, and we had that one bad inning.'
Bud's began its comeback in the bottom of that inning, though, as Jeff Lander swatted a double and scored on Joe Bonadio's two-run home run to center.
The Cokers pulled within a run in the bottom of the fourth. Mark Edenfield doubled to right, and Greg Beucher drew a walk, setting up a two-run, ground-rule double from Lander that let Bud's trailing 5-4.
A solo shot by Brian Sankovich in the fifth knotted the score at 5-5 before Show answered in the sixth with his own solo homer. With two outs, Miller looked to give Mill Run some breathing room, but Bud Murphy's Kevin Hiles balanced on the center-field fence to pull in Miller's hard-hit ball.
'That play in the outfield Bud Murphy's made was the play of the ball game,' Bugs Orndorff said.
Despite Hiles' play, though, Mill Run headed into the bottom of the seventh holding a 6-5 lead. Bonadio got aboard on an error to start Bud's offense, and Gallentine's sacrifice bunt put him at second. Brian Sankovich's two-out single sent Bonadio across home plate for the tying run, but Brunson picked up the third out before any more damage was done.
The teams will continue their series today at Mill Run.