by Dan Snapp
WELLS RIVER - The Bucks' number finally came up Thursday, and it was South Royalton that owned it. The Royals unloaded on Blue Mountain for four runs in the fourth inning and three more in the seventh for a 7-0 victory - the Bucks' first loss of the season.
quot;We've still got a lot of work to do,quot; admitted Bucks coach Harold Scott. quot;Today was a good wakeup call.quot;
Blue Mountain has had everybody else's number all year, and it was a combination of solid pitching and good contact hitting that led to a 6-0 record through Tuesday's game with Whitcomb. By Thursday, though, everything was a little off for the Bucks.
Leadoff hitter Mike Fifield was at home sick, and second baseman Eric Bogie played despite also being sick. Fifield's absence scrambled the order a little, and quot;kind of threw everything off,quot; Scott said.
Add to that an excellent performance from South Royalton starter Dave Lyman, and the Bucks were tasting defeat for the first time.
quot;He did a great job,quot; Scott said of Lyman, who tossed a two-hitter. quot;He really kept the ball down.quot; The result was a ton of flyouts and groundouts by the Bucks, complemented by eight strikeouts for Lyman.
In response, BMU starter Mike Scott enjoyed three straight 1-2-3 innings before the top of the Royals order started finding the ball.
Mike Gray led off the fourth inning by beating out a throw to first after laying down a beauty of a bunt down the third base line. The next batter, Corey Chapman, smacked a shot foul down past third base, then adjusted on the next pitch. His follow-up stayed fair and skirted the line as it rolled toward the softball field. By the time the ball came back in, Chapman was back at the plate with a two-run homer.
Ethan Murphy kept the rally going with a single to center field, and he came home two outs later on another shot down the third base line, this time by Lyman. The Royals hurler moved to the hot corner on a bloop single over second by Mike Clark, and came home while Clark got caught in a rundown.
The Bucks' best chance to score came in the second when catcher Chris Kendall led off with a double to deep center field, and pinch-runner Craig Kenney advanced to third on a fielder's choice. But Lyman mowed down the next two batters to get out of the jam.
Blue Mountain had one last chance as the top of the order came up in the bottom of the sixth. Leadoff man Ryan Dennis walked and took second on a wild pitch, but Lyman caught Eric Bogie looking and then got Scott Blood swinging before Mike Scott grounded out to short.
Three more runs in the seventh iced the win for the Royals, as they hit up Scott for four singles.
For the game, Scott struck out two and walked none. Lyman fanned eight and walked three while going the distance in the win. Bogie had the Bucks' only other hit, a single in the first inning.
Brian Somers had a great game at third, making five putouts for the Bucks. quot;He's been playing like that all year,quot; said Coach Scott. quot;He's a sophomore and has been a real pleasant surprise. He's played excellent defense.quot;
The Bucks (6-1) journey to Danville Saturday for an 11 a.m. game.