Longview was a wind gust away from a tie score with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh inning.
The wind never came, though, and it lost 3-2 to Albany, Minn., in a defensive showdown in the nightcap of Babe Ruth World Series’ opening day on Thursday at David Story Field.
“The kids competed and that’s what we wanted,” Longview coach Jeff Vinton said. “Being in that spot, it’s a tough spot to be in, but we were just a hit away. Not just then, but a couple of times.”
Sam Lindsey plated two runs in the fifth, with runners at second and third, sending a hard fly ball to centerfield. It put Longview up 2-1 for a half-inning, but a costly error in the ensuing inning put Albany back on top.
After walking the bases loaded, a fielding error at second base allowed one run to score and another run crossed on a fielder’s choice the next at bat.
Longview escaped the inning without serious damage, trailing, however, 3-2.
Jadon Williamson started the game and was electric throughout, fanning seven hitters and keeping balls in play on the ground rather than the air.
“He kept us in the ballgame, pitched a heck of a game,” Vinton said. “He’s been our No. 1 all year. We just have to learn from this, come out and compete tomorrow.”
Entering the seventh inning, only seven combined hits had been recorded, Longview accounting for four.
Jordan Kangas earned a base on balls to lead off the final frame, and then Beau Carlson walked following a full-count. With two on, catcher Tristen Warden flew out to left field, the ball traveling quickly to the outfield but just feet from outfielder Avery Schmitz. A strikeout and a sliding flyout down the right-field line ended the game.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a while, and to be in a 3-2 ballgame with the winning runs on base, just to know that you’re in it, and you can win it, that’s a spot we’re looking to be in,” Vinton said. “I think we have confidence. I think the boys are believing and this group has been together for a long time.”
Williamson pitched 5 ⅔ innings with three earned runs on three hits and four walks, with seven strikeouts. Austin McQuilliams recorded a strikeout in relief.
Lindsey finished 2 for 3 with two RBI.