The big inning bites again.
For the second straight game, a pair of crooked numbers doomed K-W-R-L in the Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series. This time, it was Albany, Minn. using four-run first and third innings to top the Pacific Northwest Region champions 8-0 on a drizzly Saturday morning at David Story Field.
“Mental breakdowns,” K-W-R-L manager Dave Chicks said. “We left a lot of guys on base, made some bigtime mental mistakes. We’ll come back tomorrow and battle.”
K-W-R-L starter Cade Reitzenstein struggled with his command in the sloppy conditions, as he walked three batters and allowed five hits in 2 1/3 innings, Albany tacking on all eight runs off one of K-W-R-L’s top arms. K-W-R-L also committed two errors.
For the second consecutive day, Chicks was willing to take the blame in defeat.
“I should have pulled the pitcher right away the first inning. I was hoping he could battle through it, and it didn’t quite work out,” Chicks said. “That got away from me. That’s on me. It’s hard to do. Sometimes I let my heart dictate what I’m doing, and I shouldn’t do that.”
On Friday, five and six-run innings pushed K-W-R-L to a 13-3 loss. Take away the rough innings, and K-W-R-L has kept up every step of the way.
To K-W-R-L’s credit, they’ve kept fighting through a couple rough days. On the ropes of another mercy-rule defeat, Derek Kropp tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out four and allowing three hits.
K-W-R-L tallied eight hits, including 2 for 3 days by Easton Ortega and Landen Krausse.
“Like always, I told them ‘I’m proud of you guys. You’re one of the top 10 teams in the 15-year-old division. Nobody can take that away from you,’” Chicks said of the postgame message. “They’re battlers. We hung our heads a bit, and you can’t hang your heads against this type of competition. We’ll have a nice long talk and come back at it tomorrow.”
Albany also finished with eight hits, including a pair of triples from Ethan Navratil, who tallied four RBIs. Starter Breyden Eiynck went six innings, striking out two and allowing three walks.
K-W-R-L returns on Sunday to face Denver City, Texas at 4 p.m.