ORLANDO, Fla – The good news for the Bradley Central baseball team is that its pitching is in mid-season form, but the offense still has some catching up to do. The Bears continued their Florida swing on Friday and ran into a pitching buzzsaw as both Vine Christian Academy and The First Academy shut down the Bear bats, with VCA taking a 3-1 victory in the day game and TFA notching a shutout 1-0 victory in the nightcap.
All totaled, Bradley managed just five hits on the day and just one against TFA in scoring a total of one run in the two losses.
The good news, though, was stellar efforts of their own on the mound. Xavier Thompson took the hard-luck loss in the first outing despite five innings of solid work. It was Ashton Simmons and Riley Black in game two with the gems as Simmons allowed a pair of hits and whiffed two and Black shut TFA down with two scoreless innings for his effort.
Simmons only trouble came in the fourth when he walked the first two hitters before giving up a single to Ben Barrett to load the bases. Simmons almost got out the no-out jam, though, by picking off a runner at second and getting a ground out, but a single by Khadin Bastian on a 2-2 count pushed across the only run necessary.
Isaac Sewell was in control for the Royals as allowed on a Simmons hit on a bunt in the fourth and immediately recorded two ground balls, the second of which produced a double play. He struck out 10 of the 20 hitters he faced and walked two. John Barit struck out the side in the seventh to work around a walk to earn the save.
In the Vine Christian Academy loss, both squads got strong performances on the mound as Bradley’s Thompson threw five innings, struck out three while allowing a pair of runs. Unfortunately, the Bears were limited to four hits and managed just one run on CJ Dills solo homer in the second inning. Iverson Vasquez notched two of the hits for the Bears, who will conclude their Florida swing with a double-header on Saturday against Harmony High School.
BRADLEY CENTRAL 010 000 0 – 1 4 1
VINE CHRISTIAN 101 001 x – 3 8 0
Thompson, Wooten (6) and Malone.
BRADLEY CENTRAL 000 000 0 – 0 1 2
THE FIRST ACADEMY 000 100 x – 1 2 0
Simmons, Black (5) and Lambreth; Sewell, Petit (7) and Hopkins.
(Email James Beach at email@example.com)