ERIE — After winning more than 85 percent of his games as Erie Tigers head coach, Bob Bledsoe has become accustomed to success. On Tuesday he watched his Tigers defeat Tri-Valley League rival Mead 12-2 in just five innings as a result of the mercy rule.
The win was the fourth in a row for Erie, a span during which the Tigers have outscored their opponents by a combined 52-4. Such a level of dominance might signify a reason to gloat for many coaches, but after overseeing so many triumphs during his tenure, Bledsoe’s nonchalant approach should have come as no surprise.
“Those are just numbers,” said Bledsoe when asked about the wide margin of victory. “Our objective is to just play our game to our best level. Whatever the other team brings is how competitive each game will be. It was a good effort by our guys but the level of competition (over the last four games) hasn’t been the best.”
During their winning streak, the Tigers (9-2, 6-0) have managed to continuously put up large numbers on the scoreboard in the early innings and Tuesday was no exception. The Tigers led 5-0 after two innings and 11-0 after the third, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the shoulders of the overwhelmed Mavericks.
“I was pleased with a lot of things today,” Bledsoe said. “We hit the ball very hard and we worked on some things for the future. It was a satisfying win but the bigger tests are still to come.”
Right fielder Carrie Clarke paced the offense with two extra-base hits, three RBIs and a run scored. Working alongside that offense was sophomore pitcher Sam Foster, who pitched a complete game and allowed just two runs to a Mead team that had averaged nearly eight in their last four games.
“I think Sam did a good job out there overall,” Bledsoe said. “She was a little sore and we were ready in the bullpen if she had trouble but she pitched well. She has really come along in her last two starts.”
After she pitched three scoreless innings to begin the game, the Maverick offense began to catch up to Foster. But by that point the deficit was so significant that she was allowed a larger margin for error, which kept her confident and in control in those otherwise shaky moments.
“I think I did pretty well,” Foster said. “It is a lot easier to pitch when your offense is putting up a lot of runs and I always know I can trust my fielders so I stayed calm out there the whole time.”
The Mavericks’ biggest loss of the season was compounded by the fact that the defense committed five errors, making matters even worse when trying to keep pace with the Tigers offense. Despite the loss, Mavericks coach Katie Saenz was pleased with her team’s effort against one of the best teams in the state.
“They are a really good hitting team,” Saenz said. “I think we can compete with anybody in our league though and we just have to keep getting better. We did some really good things today and we are trying hard (out there).”
Next up for the Mavericks (4-7, 1-5) is a road trip to Windsor on Thursday to face the struggling Wizards. Meanwhile, the league-leading Tigers will turn their attention to a showdown with the second-place Berthoud Spartans on Saturday.
ERIE 12, MEAD 2
At Erie H.S.
Mead (4-7, 1-5) 000 11 — 2 4 5
Erie (9-2, 6-0) 326 10 — 12 7 1
W — Foster. L — Qunitana.
Mead hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Mill 3-0-1-0, Levine 3-1-1-0, Quintana 2-0-1-0, Asche 2-0-1-1, Malais 2-0-0-0, Boruff 2-0-0-0, Boaz 2-0-0-0, Lynch 1-0-0-0, Harper 1-1-0-0, Gagnon 1-0-0-0. Totals 19-2-4-1. 2B — Levine. SB — Boruff.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Grenier 2-3-1-2, Goodard 3-3-1-0, Kudrna 4-0-0-0, Clarke 4-2-2-3, Glaze 3-1-1-2, Nibbe 3-0-0-0, Maul 3-1-2-0, Ochoa 1-2-0-0, Foster 2-0-0-0, Romey 1-0-0-0, Natal 1-0-1-1. Totals 27-12-7-8. 2B — Clarke. 3B — Clarke. SB — Goodard.
Mead pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Quintana 3.2-6-11-7-3-2, Jellinek 1.1-1-1-1-1-1.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Foster 5-4-2-2-1-3.