It was a tie on the scoreboard, but the end result felt more like a loss for the Shippensburg Legion baseball team Wednesday.
Shippensburg (0-0-1) initially had an 6-0 edge on St. Thomas only to see that lead evaporate late in a topsy-turvy 7-7 tie on the road.
The Shippensburg offense took advantage of St. Thomas miscues early, posting a pair of runs in each of the first three frames. They had chances to pile on even further, but were unable to collect the big hit needed in order to blow the game open, twice stranding the bases loaded.
The first four Ship batters reached base thanks to three walks and a St. Thomas error, resulting in a run before the opposition could record an out. A sac fly off the bat of Scott Witter plated a second tally, but a quick call to the pen by St. Thomas allowed the home team to successfully limit the damage.
Levi Yeager and Noah Jumper began the next frame with back-to-back base hits, leading to two additional Shippensburg runs. Ship ran themselves of a possible bigger inning, however, thanks to a caught stealing and a runner thrown out advancing to third.
Ship stayed aggressive on the base paths and that led to two more runs in the third. Logan Martin got a fantastic jump to steal third easily. The throw got away from the third baseman on the play, allowing Martin to score. Pitcher Luke Davis later walked and crossed home plate on a Levi Yeager grounder to give Shippensburg a 6-0 advantage.
They stranded the bases loaded once again in the frame, opening the door for a potential St. Thomas comeback.
St. Thomas got the benefit of a major break in the bottom of the inning. After the first two hitters reached base, a fluke hit off the knob of the bat caused some confusion in the Ship infield. Davis came off the mound to field the roller, but attempted to get the force out at third with no one covering, resulting in a throwing error that led to St. Thomas' first run.
Sawyer Egolf then compounded the error with a two-run single to draw St. Thomas closer, 6-3.
The home team added a solo home run in the fourth, but Shippensburg's Trevor Diehl answered with a sac fly a half inning later to keep the margin at three.
The lead did not last, however, as St. Thomas tied the score with a three-spot in the bottom of the fifth.
The inning began with a double, and a mile high pop up was lost in the evening sky, resulting in a Shippensburg error.
St. Thomas clean up hitter Dalton Bock followed with a 2-run double into the right centerfield gap, and Bock eventually scored on an RBI groundout to bring the hosts all the way back to tie the score, 7-7.
Reliever Andrew Kitner came on to get Shippensburg through five, and the umpires called the game because of darkness after the game became official.
Ship Legion coach Jake Stine lamented the team’s missed opportunities early, but was overall pleased with how his team has performed early on in the season.
“We've got a young team with some new players. I am getting a feel for them and they are getting a feel for me,” he said. “We only made one mistake other than that one fluke play [off the knob of the bat]. Other than that we played pretty well. I am pretty pleased with where we are at. We are being aggressive, putting the ball in play, the defense is there, and the pitching seems to be holding up.”
Next up, Shippensburg welcomes Chambersburg to Memorial Park Thursday for their first home game of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.