Sean Gorman / The Duncan Banner
The Duncan Banner
Errors, fielding miscues and mental mistakes.
It was the same set of problems that the Empire baseball team had seen all year long that led its 2013 campaign to come to a close Friday afternoon.
Playing on the final day of the Class A District Tournament against Apache, the Bulldogs could not get out of their own way in a 20-5 season-ending defeat.
“Obviously, it’s not the year we wanted and not the way we wanted to end the season, but there are some positive signs for next year,” Bulldogs coach Caleb Cole said. “We will have most of our starters back. We were still making too many mistakes out there, but hopefully that can be cut back with more experience.”
Fresh off a 17-0 rout in the team’s matchup Thursday, the Warriors continued to play with confidence early on, putting up three runs in each of the first two innings. In the second inning alone, Empire committed six errors.
Down 6-0, Empire showed a sign of life in the bottom of the third with two runs of its own.
After Stephen Price reach on an error at second base, Brandon Stogsdale got things going with a double to move Price to third. Price was brought home on a ground ball to first, and two batters later Stogsdale scored on a throwing error from third to first base.
Apache kept the pressure on with five more runs in the third, and Empire made its final stand of the season in the inning’s bottom half.
Braden Hill scored Empire’s first run of the inning on a Cole Bridges ground ball to second which was thrown over the head of the first baseman. Dillon Twigg had previously reached on an dribbler up the middle near the Apache pitcher and scored during the next at bat on a passed ball. Empire’s final run of the inning, game and season came as a first: the team’s first successful suicide squeeze of the year, which scored Bridges.
The rally came to an immediate halt when Mace Robinson grounded out to third with the bases loaded, and it was all Apache from there.
The Warriors secured their district title by scoring the next nine runs, taking advantages of more Empire errors and run ruling the Bulldogs in five.