Bearcat pitching struggles lead to Muncie Central loss at Delta in Delaware County baseball clash

Delta High School Baseball head coach Devin Wilburn takes in the action between the Eagles and Wes-Del in the first round of the 2022 Delaware County Baseball Tournament in Yorktown, Indiana, May 10, 2022. The Eagles defeated the Warriors 4-2 and eventually finished runner-up in the tournament, losing to Yorktown 11-2. (Kyle Smedley/DN)
Delta High School Baseball head coach Devin Wilburn takes in the action between the Eagles and Wes-Del in the first round of the 2022 Delaware County Baseball Tournament in Yorktown, Indiana, May 10, 2022. The Eagles defeated the Warriors 4-2 and eventually finished runner-up in the tournament, losing to Yorktown 11-2. (Kyle Smedley/DN)

Monday evening, Muncie Central (0-7) was on the road to battle Delaware County rival Delta (7-5). The Bearcats are still in search of their first victory of the year, nearing the midway point of the season. The Eagles were amidst a losing streak of their own after starting the season 6-1, the blue and gold dropped their last four contests heading into the clash.

“We just needed a clean start,” Delta head coach Devin Wilburn said. “We played a lot of games in a really short amount of time. It was a quick turnaround for us Saturday after losing a tough one Friday night. Our guys were really drained.”

At the end of the evening, it was the Eagles who ended their four-game skid as Delta took the victory against the Bearcats 16-1 in five innings.

“It was nice to get up big early to release some of that pressure so our guys could relax,” Wilburn said.

Muncie Central started the game off well, hitting a leadoff single and an RBI double from junior Rodney Dabney to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. After the quick start in the first, it was all downhill for the purple and white.

Pitching was the achilles heel for the Bearcats throughout this one. Senior Charlie Graham started on the mound but through just one inning he recorded a walk, four hit by pitch, and allowed seven runs to score.

Delta went through the entirety of its batting order and then some through the first inning. 

“Pitching was definitely something we worried about,” Muncie Central head coach Jason Kubick said. “We don’t have anybody that can blow it by people, but we’re trying to get our pitchers to understand, just throw strikes, and create weak contact.”

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Paige Grider, Photo Provided

Struggles continued to mount in the second where Muncie Central had opportunities to get outs, but fielding errors allowed the Eagles to continue to add to their lead, tacking on four more runs to push the lead to double digits at 11-1.

With the pitching struggles, Delta was being smart in the batter's box, not swinging for the fences on every pitch but being patient and taking what the Bearcat pitchers gave them.

“I had a couple of guys telling me, ‘I’m gonna hit a home run this time,’” Wilburn said. “I told them, ‘No, just stay within your approach, and overall, our guys did a good job of that.”

Muncie Central changed things up on the mound in the third inning to try and stop the bleeding with Dabney taking over pitching duties for Graham. However, the change was to no avail as the Eagles added five runs to their lead.

The youth of the Bearcats lineup has been a contributing factor to the start of their season. Kubick knew there was going to be a bit of an adjustment period and growth that needed to be done.

“We’re a really young team,” Kubick said. “We’re letting them make mistakes and trying to get them to learn from them. Baseball is a game of failure, but the big thing we’re working on right now is just trying to limit some of those errors.”

Delta will be on the road for its next contest against Hoosier Heritage Conference rival Shelbyville April 23 at 6 p.m. Muncie Central will travel to Muncie Burris for its next matchup, also April 23 at 6 p.m.

Contact David Moore with comments at david.moore@bsu.edu or on X @gingninj63.

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