With an 18-3 record on the year, the Emeralds were poised to add another win to the column, going into the seventh inning holding a 2-0 lead. The Emeralds let the two run lead slip through their hands in a 13-inning nail biter as they lost 3-2.
“No question, we didn’t deserve to win the game,” manager Pat Murphy said.
The Emeralds were burned all game by their inability to come up clutch. They left 12 runners on base and struck out 18 times. The Emeralds also out hit the Bears 11-to-4, but even with just four hits the Bears had more extra base hits than the Emeralds.
“Strikeout 18 times in a baseball game, you usually don’t win,” Murphy said.
The first inning started off with a bang as Jace Peterson led off the inning with a two-strike base hit. After a ground out that moved over Peterson to second, a passed ball would give the Emeralds a runner on third with only one out. Peterson took off for home on a Cory Spangenberg groundball to the second baseman. Danny Pulfer elected to take a shot a nabbing Peterson, but Peterson was safe on the bang-bang play at the plate. The Emeralds would end the inning with a 1-0 lead after Spangenberg was caught stealing and Kyle Gaedele struck out looking.
In the third inning with two outs, Mykal Stokes hit a two-strike base hit and was followed by a Spangenberg bunt base hit. The Emeralds got a little dicey with a double steal that worked to their advantage. Lee Orr went on to walk. With the bases loaded, Gaedele hit a line drive that looked like it was going to break open the game but second baseman Pulfer made a spectacular leaping grab to end the inning.
Starter Matt Andriese went a perfect three innings where he gave up no runs, hits, or walks. Reliever Will Scott continued the perfect trend as he set down the order in innings four and five.
The bottom of the fifth continued the Emeralds offensive production. After a quick two outs, the Emeralds answered with back-to-back-to-back base hits and would plate their second run of the game. They would load the bases after a hit by pitch, but a ground ball would end the Emeralds threat.
The Bears finally got their first base runner of the game in the top of the sixth on a Tyler Bream walk. After a fly out, Pulfer would break up the no-hitter on ground ball base hit that was just out of the reach of Spangenberg. The rally would end there, as the next two batters would be retired on fly balls. The following frame saw Yakima breakthrough and knot the game at 2-2. The bases were loaded after a leadoff double, a fielder’s choice and error combo, and another error. Reliever Jeremy Gigliotti was unable to record an out in the inning and was replaced by Luis De La Cruz.
The Bears put one up on the board on a sacrifice fly from Kerry Jenkins. Runners were at the corners with two down after a botched double play ball was unable to end the inning. De La Cruz issued up a free pass to load the bases for the Bears. A two-strike passed ball tied the game.
“Five miscues in one inning and give up two runs. That was the difference in the game. We pitched well enough to win,” Murphy said.
The Emeralds threatened in the 9th, 10th and 12th but could not get the clutch hit. Spangenberg could not repeat his walk-off heroics with a man on third in the ninth. Jorge Minyety failed to get down a pair of squeeze bunts with one down and a runner on third in the 10th. Another runner was stranded 90-feet away in the 12th.
The Bears would take advantage of the all the missed opportunities. In the top of the 13th and one out, Pulfer would line a ball up the middle for a base hit. He then took second and third base on balls in the dirt. Peterson couldn’t handle a groundball hit his way, and Pulfer would score the go ahead run. The Emeralds couldn’t respond in the bottom half and took the loss.
“Their kid in the last inning, he ran the bases like he was playing for something,” Murphy said. “The way we used to play. Hopefully a wake up call. This was really the first game we should of won and we gave it away.”