A pair of home runs by Clifton ‘C.P.’ Bycroft, coupled with five errors, helped Diamond come all the way back from an eight-run deficit Monday against Spring River Valley Conference rival Jasper.

 “Baseball is a funny game,” said Dustin Young, Jasper’s first-year coach. “One error turns into two errors and then things begin to snowball.”


A pair of home runs by Clifton ‘C.P.’ Bycroft, coupled with five errors, helped Diamond come all the way back from an eight-run deficit Monday against Spring River Valley Conference rival Jasper.
 “Baseball is a funny game,” said Dustin Young, Jasper’s first-year coach. “One error turns into two errors and then things begin to snowball.”

 Bycroft’s first home run — part of a four-run sixth — gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game. In the seventh, Bycroft lifted a three-run home run over the left-center field wall, which gave the Wildcats a five-run lead.

 The Eagles, who jumped on top 9-1 after three innings, scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh but left the tying and winning runs on base, as Diamond held on for a wild 16-15 victory at Jasper Baseball Park.

 Both teams combined to score 31 runs on 32 hits while committing eight errors — six by the Eagles, who continued to have problems defensively.

 Again, Jasper starter Preston Storm pitched well enough to deserve a victory, but the Eagles’ defense imploded during the middle innings.

The Wildcats, trailing by eight runs, began their comeback with four runs in the fourth. Diamond followed with another four runs in the fifth — three of which were unearned.

 Storm, a left-hander, went five innings, yielding 10 hits and nine runs, but only four were earned. Storm turned the ball over after the fifth to Jesse Hodge, who promptly loaded the bases with a pair of walks and hit batsman. With nobody out, Young pulled Hodge, who had pitched well in his previous two starts, and brought in Matt Newman.

After striking out Chris Epperson, Newman gave up a first-pitch grand slam to Bycroft, who finished with three extra-base hits and 8 RBIs.

Epperson labored through 2 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs on 10 hits, before Dakota Prier took over in the fourth. Prier, a right-hander, surrendered only two runs in three innings of relief. It was his first varsity win.

Bycroft, who took over for Prier after the sixth, made things interesting in the seventh, allowing four runs, which included a two-run home run by Storm, to score and the winning run to reach base. But Bycroft was able to limit further damage to secure the win for the Wildcats.

“They fought back and made it a game,” said Young. “I’m proud of them for that.”

Kyle McGatha led the game off with a solo home run over the left-center field wall, which helped spark Jasper’s early offensive outpouring. McGatha collected three hits in his first three at bats, finishing the day 4-for-5 with two extra-base hits and 2 RBIs.

Craig VanLue was 3-for-5 for Diamond, while Zach Alford and Keith Reiss had two hits.
Diamond is 4-5 overall and 1-3 in SRVC. The Wildcats play at 4 p.m. today at home against Golden City in a make-up game.

The Eagles, now 4-7 overall and 1-3 in SRVC play, are off until 4:30 p.m. Friday when College Heights visits for a varsity, junior varsity doubleheader.