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West Hall struggles on defense, falls to Monroe Area 12-1
West Hall second baseman Sterling Rider dives in attempt to reach a grounder between second base and first base during the first inning of the Spartans’ game with Monroe Area at the West Hall baseball field Monday evening. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

After picking up a region win over Chestatee on Friday, West Hall coach Pete Allen had hoped to see his team carry the strong play throughout the rest of the season.

After a 12-1 loss to Monroe Area Monday in Oakwood, however, Allen’s team must again reassess its direction.

“We won a game Friday, so we think we can show up and beat anybody,” he said. “It doesn’t work like that.”

The Spartans (4-9, 2-6 Region 8-AAA) gave up four runs in both the first and second innings, falling quickly behind 8-0 before having an opportunity to muster any response on the offensive side of the ball. West Hall finished with 12 errors.

Cale Brown and Jake Olsen led off the game for the Purple Hurricanes (3-9, 2-5) with back-to-back singles. Olsen’s single came on a hit and run to move Brown around to third base. Corey Olsen followed with a ground ball to third, but the throw to first base went wide and rolled to the fence, allowing Brown to cross the plate.

Two batters later, Josh Hawbaker singled in another run to make it 2-0. A wild pitch and an error on an attempt to throw out a stealing runner plated two more before the Spartans were able to get out of the inning.

The second was much of the same as the first two batters doubled and singled, respectively. Cody Hall led off with a sharp stroke into the alley in left-center, and Brown picked up his second hit of the day immediately following to drive in the run. Brown finished 3 for 4 with an RBI. He reached base safely on each of his four plate appearances, and scored four of Monroe Area’s runs.

West Hall then strung three errors together in the inning to allow three more to cross the plate.

“We didn’t do ourselves any favors,” Allen said. “It’s tough to come back when you’re down eight runs before you even have your second at-bat.”

Monroe Area stretched its lead to 12 runs by the middle of the fifth inning. The Spartans’ offense began to come alive in the bottom half of the inning, but it was too late to make a significant push.

Starting pitcher Jake Shirley walked with one out in the inning, and center fielder Cameron Johnson followed suit two batters later. Chase Jarrard drove Shirley in with a two-out double, but that was all the offense the Spartans could muster.

“It was a little too late,” Allen said. “Had we not gotten so upside-down, maybe we could have battled back.”

Allen said he was disappointed in the effort the team offered early in the game.

“One thing we’ve talked about from the beginning of the season is effort and attitude,” he said. “You do these things, and, a lot of the time, the score will take care of itself.”

West Hall has a chance to rebound Wednesday at home against Lanier. Allen said it will be important for his team to have a short memory and make up for Monday with a strong effort.

“We need to forget about this,” he said. “We need a better effort Wednesday.”

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