First-year Casey coach Tim Ellis admitted he is seeing signs that his team is improving.
"We are cutting down on our errors, limiting our walks and hitting the ball with more consistency," Ellis said. "You can see signs that we are getting better.
"At the beginning of the year, we were spotting teams six runs because we couldn't get the ball over the plate or were making errors at key times. However, this is the third game in a row that we have lost by one run and it is just a matter of time before this team gets that first win."
It nearly happened on Monday.
Garrard (10-10) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second when center fielder Dustin Evans, who along with Murphy had two of the Lions' six hits, singled to center and went to second when the throw back to the infield got away from second baseman Donald Doss. He scored when Murphy lined a single to right field.
Catch by Prewitt
Casey (0-21) came back to score two runs in the third to take a brief lead. Marcus Patterson led off with a double to right-center and went to third when Jared Howard doubled to right when Garrard right fielder Hank Staley lost the ball in the sun. Nick Coffman's sacrifice fly scored Patterson and Howard scored on an error to give the Rebels a 2-1 lead.
"As young as we are, we can't afford to take any days off," Woods said. "We were rusty from the layoff and it showed. We didn't hit it, and we can certainly play better defense than we played today."
Casey had a golden opportunity to score more in the fourth. Phillip Andrews led off the inning with a single to left, but was forced out on a Doss ground ball.
After Patterson popped out to shortstop Jared Prewitt for the second out, Howard singled to left and both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch. Coffman then lined what looked a be a sure double to left field, but Prewitt jumped as high as he could to make the catch to end the inning.
"What made that play so tough was Jared was standing in his path and seemed to screen him out," Ellis said. "But the kid just made a spectacular catch. We would have scored at least two runs and that would have given us some breathing room."
"It was by far the play of the game," Woods added. "If he doesn't catch that we may not have caught up."
Casey grabbed a 3-2 advantage an inning later but Browning tied the score with his home run in Garrard's half of the inning.
That set the stage for Murphy's home run, a line shot into the trees in left-center field.
"Tyler's home run was huge," Woods said. "I'm real happy for him. He had a lot of weight on his shoulders for a sophomore, but he came through for us. Our team got the hits when we needed them today. I'll take a win any time I can get one, but we have got to begin to get better."
Murphy wasn't the only player with a lot of weight on his shoulders. Howard woke up Saturday morning to find out that his father had passed away at home during the night, but he said he wanted to play in the game because "that is what Dad would have wanted me to do."
Justin Swango, Nick Coffman (3), Jared Howard (6) and Corey McCawley. Tyler Murphy, T Ellis (6) and Christian Wyler. W-Ellis. L-Howard. 2B-Marcus Patterson (CC), Howard (CC), Steven DeBord (GC). HR-Brad Browning (GC), Murphy (GC).Casey0020100-3-8-2Garrard010111x-4-6-4