The SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars had cut down on their massive amount of errors coming into the Tarboro Easter Classic and had begun to play good defense. They broke down defensively Wednesday against the Winslow Township Eagles in the first round of the tournament and committed eight errors and were defeated 9-2.
Out of the nine runs the Cougars gave up to the Eagles only two were earned.
"When you make eight errors you can't win a ball game," Cougars head coach Tommy Tolson said. "I just don't know what the answer is. It just isn't meant to be I guess."
Philip Webb started for the Cougars on the hill. He struggled through the first two innings and was relieved in the second after he walked the lead off batter. Webb told Tolson that his elbow was bothering him and he had some tightness in his right elbow.
"Philip told me he wanted the ball for this game," Tolson said. "He said he felt good coming into the game but I don't know what happened to him. He said his elbow was bothering him."
Webb gave up four runs on one hit and walked two before being relieved by Stephen Thompson. Webb took the loss.
Darnell Maisonet led off with a walk, then Jonathan Gonzalez hit a ground ball to third to force Masionet out at second. With two outs, DJ Thompson reached on an error by the Cougars third baseman. Both runners then advanced on a pass ball. With runners at second and third, Webb was called for a balk which allowed Gonzalez to score. Guilford Masionet then singled to score Thompson. Collin Schaffhauser then hit a fly ball to right-center and the ball was dropped which allowed Maisonet to score to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles would score a run in the second and fourth inning off of a Raymond Reyes RBI single and Thompson RBI single to give the Eagles a 5-1 lead.
The Cougars scored a run in the third inning after Jared Pridgen reached base after being hit by a pitch. He scored when Nick Webb hit a fly ball to left field and the the ball was dropped.
The Cougars would score their second run in the fourth. Chris Owens reached on a fielders choice and Pridgen followed with a double to right field. Thompson then hit a ground ball to third and Pridgen tried to advance to third but Owens was still on the base. The Eagles catcher ran at Pridgen and Owens scored after Pridgen got into a run down. He was tagged out for the third out, but Owens scored before the out was recorded.
The Eagles scored two more runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Three of the four runs scored off of Cougars errors. Thompson hit a single in the seventh to score the second run of the inning to give the Eagles a 9-2 lead.
Thompson who earned the win. He threw six innings for Winslow Township. He only gave up four hits and walked five. He also struck out three.
Tolson is wondering what he has to do to figure out what his teams problem is coming into games.
"I thought we would hit the ball better then we did," Tolson said. "Especially after we hit like we did in batting practice."
Tolson said his team hits the ball well in practice everyday, but when it comes to game time his team freezes up and forgets what they have worked on during practice.
"I wish I had the answer for us bringing our practices into game situations," Tolson said. "We talked about it Tuesday in practice and then again before we came to the game. I have been searching for that answer since the third ball game."
Tolson planned on having a talk with his team following the game to figure out if they want to fold or come back in today and be ready to play.
The Cougars will play at 1:30 p.m. against the St. Maria Goretti Gaels. The Gaels lost to the host team Tarboro Vikings 11-7.
Winslow Township will play Tarboro in the winners bracket at 7 p.m. today.