Wild pitching leads to high scoring game between Bellarmine and Rogers

The Lions went into their game on Monday, March 20, against the Roger Rams in need of a victory. Senior Hayden Morrison was on the bump, and the team was ready for action. The lineup changed slightly from the Puyallup game, with DH Braden Pollock moving to 6th, Nate Burke moving to 7th, and Raiden Calcote moving to 9th. Defensively, Calcote got his first start of the season at Shortstop, with Morrison on the mound. Junior Nolan Bjorkman also made his varsity debut, as the starting catcher. Bjorkman was the starting catcher for JV in 2021 and 2022 and was brought up to Varsity this year. Owen Haugen played right field, meaning Ethan Truebenbach was on the bench. 

The Lions jumped out to an early 4-0 lead due to an abundance of walks and wild pitches. Spencer Truebenbach led off with a walk and scored the first run, stealing second base in the process. Unfortunately, Hayden Morrison too began to lose his control in the third inning. Known for his incredible spin-rate, Morrison has the potential to be elite, but at times he can struggle with control. It’s what makes him so valuable as a reliever, but this year the team has little starting pitch depth. Morrison is the team’s #2 starter, and in the first two innings, he looked like such. 

Hayden Morrison (’23) on the mound (Photo courtesy of Instagram @77haymo)

In the third, Rogers loaded the bases with one out and wound up getting three runs, all due to wild pitches or passed balls. Suddenly, the game was close. Rogers tied the game at 4 in the top of the 4th, but Bellarmine answered in the bottom of the inning. Owen Haugen, for his first of the season, stroked an RBI single to score Pollock and regain the lead. Unfortunately, Rogers stormed back for 3 more runs in the fifth inning. 

In the bottom of the 5th the Lions, down two, loaded the bases off of a Truebenbach single and back-to-back walks from Nick Nino and Hayden Morrison. They capitalized, with both Truebenbach and Nino crossing the plate to once again tie the game at 7 runs apiece. 

With Jack Nedved pitching in the sixth inning, the Lions hoped to preserve that score, but a hit batter, a walk, and a single, combined with a few wild pitches gave the Rams a 9-7 lead. Rogers added another run in the 7th, an unearned run against Braden Pollock, who pitched for the first time this season. The final score was 10-7 Rams. 

It’s rare to see a game like this. The two teams combined for 17 runs, but had only 8 hits total (4 for each team). The Lions drew 8 walks and the Rams drew 7, and those walks, in addition to far too many wild pitches and passed balls from both teams, are what made the game so high scoring. Morrison, to his credit, only allowed two earned runs. The other 5 were unearned, as were one of Nedved’s runs. Multiple errors from Bjorkman, Haugen, and Wynne, cost the Lions 7 unearned runs. 

Morrison also struck out 6, as did J Mejia, the starter for Rogers. Top performers for the Lions included Braden Pollock and Nate Burke. Pollock walked twice and scored twice. Burke also walked twice, stole a base, and scored once. Despite being hitless so far this season, Burke leads the team with a.364 OBP (on-base-percentage) due to his team-high four walks. He also has a team-high two stolen bases, and has played very well in the field at 2nd base, with a .944 fielding percentage.

The loss drops the Lions to a record of 0-4 (0-3 SPSL). For the Rams it was their first win of the season, moving to 1-3 (1-2 SPSL). Bellarmine next takes on South Kitsap tomorrow, on the road. The Wolves and Lions are currently tied for 9th place in the SPSL. The top eight teams will make the playoffs, so it’s important for the Lions to start picking up wins soon. The Lions’ point differential of -10 is 7th in the league, so hopefully, if they continue playing close games the wins will start to come.