April 08, 2009
Manchester – For the second time in the Lancer Spring Tournament, Henrico (2-7) squanders a four run lead and lets the sweet taste of victory turn into a sour and bitter loss. Tucker (4-5) was the beneficiary of the “Warriors” collapse letting the “Tigers” score five runs in the top half of the seventh inning resulting in a 7-6 loss.
“Devastating! I don’t know how else to describe it,” said Henrico head coach Ken Schrad. “Players win games, coaches lose them and there were some moves I could have made to strengthen us defensively at the end,” he added. “But, I chose to stay with what had been working throughout the game and as Tucker applied the pressure, we did not handle it very well.”
Henrico’s Paul Bateera had pitched a masterful game. He had given up just two runs on three hits in six innings. It was easy to let him continue in the seventh. If only he had gotten some help.
Tucker’s half of the seventh started with a mediocre line drive to second that was not caught. The next batter struck out. The following batter hit a bloop fly ball that was called by the right fielder, but not caught. The next batter struck out. Just one more was needed for the win. It would not come until six batters later.
Justin Lacy hit a hard line drive that smacked into the first baseman’s glove, but skipped out. The bases were loaded.
Mason Bowman worked the count full, but struck out swinging on a nasty curve ball. The trouble was that it was too nasty to catch. It rolled to the backstop and the throw back to the plate shot back through the infield allowing two runs to score. There was still a two run lead.
Neil Parrish followed with a single to plate another run. Shaken, Bateera hit the next batter with a pitch. Pinch hitter Scott Thurston followed with a single to score the tie and go ahead runs. Bateera was lifted and the inning of disaster ended on a pop fly to right field.
The emotional let down was too great for Henrico to overcome. Two ground outs and a pop out ended the game.
“We won six innings and lost one. Unfortunately, that’s the love-hate relationship of the game of baseball,” said Schrad. “I love this game. But, I hate how it can humble you so quickly.”
Among the highlights for Henrico - Michael Mansfield was two for three with a double and four RBIs. Landon Prentiss was two for three with a double and a sacrifice fly RBI. Andrew Props hit a double and Nick Toombs, Jordan Doggett, and Jackson Wright each had a single. And, up until the last inning, the defense was superb; handling the baseball 24 times with just one error. In inning seven, however, three errors were committed in just five chances.
“I didn’t want to talk about this game to anyone,” said Schrad. “Then, I hear on the news that a rookie pitcher for the California Angels dies in a hit-and-run car accident following his Major League debut. Our little loss means nothing compared to such a tragic ending of a life to someone who’s whole career was in front of him.”