The Meadows baseball coach Frank DeSantis admits his defense has been inconsistent this season.
The Mustangs picked the wrong time to have an off day in the field.
Four errors led to six unearned runs Thursday and sent the Mustangs into the losers’ bracket of the Class 2A state tournament with a 6-4 loss to Yerington on The Meadows’ home field.
The Mustangs (24-6-1) must win twice today and twice Saturday to win the tournament. That road starts with a 10 a.m. game today against Southern League rival Needles. Yerington (24-9) will meet Whittell in the winners’ bracket final at 1 p.m. today.
“The bottom line is we didn’t play any defense,” DeSantis said. “We have to be able to catch the ball and throw it. If you don’t play defense, you’re not going to win championship games.”
The Meadows had little trouble with the other two aspects of the game.
Ace Garrett Gosse pitched a five-hitter, striking out five and walking three, and the Mustangs pounded out nine hits, even erasing a 2-0 deficit by scoring three runs in the top of the fourth.
“He pitched his usual game. He kept us in the game,” DeSantis said.
But a throwing error with two outs and two runners on base in the bottom of the fourth opened the door for the Lions to score three runs and re-establish a two-run cushion. They had only one hit in the inning.
Yerington ran its lead to 6-3 in the fifth as pitcher Tommy Kinsey was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a bad throw on a pickoff attempt, to third on a passed ball and scored when Curtis Stubblefield’s fly ball to center was dropped.
Still, The Meadows had a chance to get back into the game in the seventh when Ian Holbrook reached on an error and Anthony Gord was walked.
Consecutive fielder’s choices quieted the rally, but Brandon Thomas produced a two-out RBI single to make it 6-4.
Kinsey recovered to get Ryan Wells to fly out to left to end the game.
Justin Diamond went 3-for-3 and Gosse 2-for-4 for the Mustangs. Wells rolled a two-run single through a curiously drawn-in infield in the fourth.
Yerington’s Cole Aiazzi went 2-for-3 and scored twice.
Whittell 7, Needles 2 — Alex Vogt pitched a five-hitter over six innings with 10 strikeouts to earn a win as the Warriors (22-11) routed the Mustangs (19-9).
“Alex’s curveball was really working today to keep their hitters off-balance, and he used his fastball effectively to get strikeouts,” Whittell coach Starbuck Teevan said.
Matt Elliott went 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, four RBIs and two runs and Julian Washalefsky tossed a perfect seventh inning in relief and was 2-for-3 with an RBI double for Whittell, which got two hits, an RBI and a run from Alex Weik.
Tied 1-1 in the top of the third inning, Alex Potnick hit a leadoff double and scored on Elliott’s triple.
Washalefsky then singled home Elliott to give the Warriors a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.