Effingham fell behind early Thursday afternoon at Paul Smith Field when Shelbyville’s Luke Hatfield hit a long sacrifice fly to center field in the first inning.
That lone run would be all the Rams would need, and all they’d get as well, as Effingham fell to Shelbyville 1-0.
The Flaming Hearts (1-3) could not come up with a timely hit, an issue that’s plagued them in each of their three losses this season.
“We had several hits, we just couldn’t put them together back-to-back,” said Effingham coach Chris Fleener. “The guys’ approaches at the plate are looking better. It’s still early, and we’re hoping we can find the right players and put the right players back-to-back to get the hits together.”
Effingham has scored two runs or fewer in each of its three losses, and scored 12 runs in its lone win against Altamont.
In each of the last five innings, Effingham had a man in scoring position with two outs, but could never bring the runner home against Shelbyville ace Andrew Hawkins.
The Hearts’ best chance came in the third. Nathan Vail led off with a single, and advanced to second on a bad pickoff throw by the Shelbyville catcher. The next two batters were retired.
Carter Hayes hit a line drive up the middle, but Fleener held Vail at third when Eli Miller gathered the liner quickly. Drew Levitt ended the inning by flying out to right field.
“The kid had a good arm, and when Nathan came around third, the center fielder came up with it pretty clean,” Fleener said. “Maybe I should have gambled on that one, but it was early in the game and I tried to play it safe.”
In the fourth, Preston Walker advanced to second with two outs, only to have Kevin Daugherty ground out to third.