Sometimes you do things right and it doesn’t break your way.
That was the message from Kelso coach Pat Connors after his team lost 12-2 over five innings to Tallahassee, Fla. in its Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series opening showdown on Thursday at David Story Field. Tallahassee peppered Kelso with seven runs in the first frame, and the co-hosts couldn’t recover.
“You just get punished by a grand slam, and that kind of turns it around,” Connors said. “We started off well, but it’s baseball and that wasn’t our best game.”
After a double steal, with a close play at third base, Kelso starter Tommy Brandenburg walked a batter to load the bases.
Tallahassee left-fielder Argene Lynn deposited a fastball into the left-field bullpen, a grand slam that gave the Floridians a 5-1 lead.
“Brandenburg is a phenomenal pitcher and he’ll bounce back. He’ll be back on the bump for us,” Connors said. “When you’re not locating against any of these teams, you’re going to get hit. We stuck seven hits on the board against a really good pitcher, so we’ll be alright.”
Masyn Allison plated both Kelso runs, one in the first frame and another in the third. Nate Lonner, who won Wednesday’s home-run derby went 2 for 3, while Brandenburg and Tegan Connors scored a run apiece.
“It’s a positive. Any time you find your growing curves there, and for us to go out and hit the ball well, we played really well and only made one error,” Connors said. “It really comes down to not giving free passes. We hit three guys and walked three or four more. Can’t win very many baseball games doing that.”
Brandenburg took the loss, allowing seven earned runs on five hits in one inning of work, with three walks and two strikeouts. Kyle Spain pitched 1 ⅓ innings with two earned runs on three hits and two walks, while Kris Tsinnajinnie lasted two frames with three earned runs on three hits with two walks and a strikeout. Stringing together quality at-bats, though, was a problem in the mind of the Kelso skipper.
“I think there was all but one inning where we had runners in scoring position,” Connors said. “We just couldn’t come up with that chalk-line hit or that base hit. We had balls going over bags just missing, and they’re getting balls down the line and blowing up the line. So it’s just time to come back and keep grinding.”