The Blair Broncs traveled to Arapaho on Thursday to participate in the Rockin R Invitational Tournament, taking on the Canute Trojans at noon.
Although the day started off well for the Broncs, it quickly turned sour.
The Broncs were the first to strike, taking advantage of a wild pitch from Trojan pitcher Trace Maddox. Maddox nailed Kaden Hans awarding him a free ride to first base with Brayden Gray stepping up to the plate.
Gray was ready to answer, connecting with a pitch and driving it into center field for a double. Hans was quick around the bases and before the Trojans could stop him he had crossed home plate and put the Broncs up 1-0.
Gray was left stranded as the Broncs were unable to generate any further offense and ended the inning with the only run they would score in the game.
The Trojans did did not score until the top of the third and took advantage of an error to do so.
After Nick Janning struck out looking, Kyler Williams was hit by a Gray pitch, gifting the Trojans with an opportunity similar to the one they had encountered in the bottom of the first.
Maddox — not content with just doing work on the mound — singled to right field on a line drive hit, advancing Williams to second and doing just enough to make the Broncs sweat.
Josh Kupka stepped up to the plate and on the fourth pitch rocketed a ground ball the left field giving Williams the opportunity to run break away from second and cross home plate to tie the game up 1-1.
The game remained 1-1 until the top of the seventh inning, when the Trojans took a Broncs error and mixed it with opportunity when Williams reached base on an error, Kupka singled to left field, and Mikey Davis cracked one over the center field wall to give the Trojans a 4-1 lead that they would not give up.
The Broncs tried to rally, putting runners on first and second with only a single out, but their luck ran out and the Trojans were able to scoop up two ground balls to get the next two outs and win the game.
For the Trojans, Trace Maddox threw 69 pitches in seven innings of work. He allowed only four hits and one run and he struck out two Broncs batters.
For the Broncs, Brayden Gray pitched two and one-third innings with four strikeouts, one hit and one unearned run.
Kaden Hans pitched three and two-thirds innings with four strikeouts, one hit, and no runs allowed, and Skyler Scott pitched one inning, striking out two but allowing three hits and two earned runs.
For the Broncs batters, Gray led the way going 2-for-3 with an RBI — run-batted in — and a double, while Ivan Smith went 2-for-3, Baylor Downing went 1-for-3, and Keaton Christian went 1-for-3.
“Baserunning mistakes, costly errors, and not being able to hit the ball contributed to this loss,” Broncs Head Coach B.J. Armstrong said. “Once again we play well enough to win yet don’t do the right things in the pressure situations to get the job done. Canute did what they had to do in a pressure situation to win the game. Their kid hit a home run off a pitch outside and in the dirt. It was a good pitch, he just got the barrel on it which is often times all it takes. If we get better in pressure situations, we will have a chance to go far in the playoffs. If we do not, we will have a hard time winning a game. That being said, our pitching could not have been better. Gray, Hans, and Scott threw the ball very well today.”
The Broncs now move to 0-3 on the season and to the loser’s bracket where they will face the loser between Erick and Union City at noon Friday.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.