Solid performances by Italy not enough to overtake Grandview on their fields

Image: The Italy JV Gladiators get ready for Grandview.

The Italy JV Gladiators get ready for Grandview. (Barry Byers)

Grandview — The Italy JV Gladiator squad dropped their first district loss to the Grandview JV 9-3 on Friday in an away game. Cody Boyd started on the mound for head coach Josh Ward followed by Tyler Anderson who closed out the game out. 

On a separate playing field, the Lady Gladiators, led by senior pitcher Megan Richards, suffered their first district loss, as well, after dueling with the Lady Zebras for 7 innings. Italy had little problem hitting the ball but Grandview’s athletic defense made several key catches to keep the Lady Gladiators pinned down. Despite a Jaclynn Lewis RBI double that landed at the fence line in left field, a pair of over-the-fence homeruns by Alyssa Richards and Paige Westbrook that sailed over the left field fence and a single by Madison Washington that she stretched into a triple late in the contest, Italy was unable to rally allowing Grandview to celebrate their 11-5 victory.

The Lady Gladiators made their share of defensive plays, also, including a great example of the will to win highlighted by a diving catch made from freshman left fielder Washington who collided with freshman center fielder Tara Wallis. After making the fearless grab, Washington tossed the ball to cutoff, Bailey Bumpus, and then checked on Wallis who had taken a cleat in the grill during the collision. With a slightly bloody nose, Wallis remained in the game and she and her teammates continued to fight.

More outstanding plays for Italy’s defense were executed by Alma Suaste who made a running catch for an out in the right field gap, two foul ball catches by catcher Alyssa Richards and throws by infielders Katie Byers, Bumpus and Westbrook to Lewis at first base for outs. Megan Richards played first base, as well, after a pitching change with Lewis in the fourth-inning with both players showing their versatility.

Back at the baseball field, the Gladiators led the entire game with Justin Buchanan on the mound before a late Zebra rally resulted in a win for Grandview. Closer Caden Jacinto replaced Buchanan in the bottom of the sixth-inning with a man on first but was unable to keep Grandview’s hitters contained as the Zebras manage to load the bases and soon tie the game.

A grounder is ruled fair down the third base line scores two more Grandview runs and gives the Zebras a 7-5 lead. With the bases loaded, yet again, a Zebra hit scores two to tie the matchup. Then a hard liner knocked down by a fearless Brandon Souder at third base nets Italy their first out who spins and makes the throw to Cole Hopkins covering first.

A short fly ball to right field drops down to make the score 8-5 and then an infield error allows Grandview to pad their lead, 9-5. Souder knocks down another line drive toward third but Hopkins makes the catch away from the first base bag. Grandview flies out to Chase Hamilton in centerfield for the second out and then flies out to right field where Jase Holden makes the catch for out number three.

Italy must, at least, tie the game during their next at bat but can only muster a single before Holden flies out to left field to end the contest with Grandview securing a 9-5 victory.

Go Italy!