Nearly lost gem
It would have been a shame to waste the outing from Haysville starter Dexter Spitsnogle, who didn't allow an earned run and only two hits in a complete game performance.
But the Heat almost found a way in their 4-3 win over Topeka on Tuesday night in an elimination game.
Haysville committed two throwing errors, one by second baseman Crispin Tarango to first and then by first baseman Robbie Rea to the plate, with two outs in the ninth to jumpstart a Topeka rally.
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The result left the tying run on third base in a game where Spitsnogle had yet to allow an earned run. But Spitsnogle averted disaster by striking out Joe Hosney to end the threat.
"I wasn't really thinking about it as the tying run was on third," said Spitsnogle, who is a starter at Nebraska. "I wasn't going to lose or come out, I had to win that for my team."
Manager Rick Twyman said that Spitsnogle has not given up an earned run all summer and is 6-0.
"That doesn't matter, though," Spitsnogle said. "It's all about living to play another day."
Still haven't learned
Jim Agne, the general manager of the Haysville Heat, said after his team's 4-3 victory over the Topeka Golden Giants on Tuesday night that he thought of this team as the best defensively in the 18 years of the organization's history.
But there was a footnote to the statement: That was before the Heat took the field Tuesday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
"Our defense let us down again tonight," Haysville manager Rick Twyman said. "We've played awesome defense all summer, then we get to this World Series and we start kicking the ball around."
Counting the four errors Tuesday night, Haysville has committed 10 errors in five games. It's an oddity Twyman can't explain.
"It's like we get on this turf and it starts (messing with player's minds)," Twyman said.
It must be a pretty good feeling for Valley Center's starting pitchers to hand the ball off to the bullpen.
Through four games this tournament, the Diamond Dawgs' relievers have teamed to throw 15 innings and give up one run.
Alex Marney and Erelio Mesa continued that trend on Tuesday night in Valley Center's 5-4 loss to the San Diego Waves. But the first earned run, given up by Marney on a double from Jimmy Waters, proved costly.
"Our bullpen has been tremendous," Valley Center manager Pat Hon said. "Alex Marney did a great job, he settled in well after that. We just couldn't get anything going after that."