Max Fay, Editor in Chief (@ on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net)–Tallahassee Community College got off on the wrong foot, then couldn’t put one foot in front of the other.
The Eagles (15-11) fell behind early and never could make it a ballgame, getting thrashed 16-5 by Chipola (20-4) in their first conference game of the season.
Starting pitcher Brooks Buckler lasted only 1.2 innings, giving up seven earned runs on five hits and three walks. The lone bright spot for TCC was Cole Vann, who homered to straight away center field, and then came on to pitch in the sixth inning, recording a pair strikeouts.
“It was a bad start,” TCC head coach Mike McLeod said. “We made some mistakes on the mound and out in the field early. We walked guys and gave up a lot of hits, and that is a recipe not very conducive to winning a baseball game. The lack of defensive really took us out of the game.”
Buckler found himself in a tight spot to start the game with a man on third and only one out. He struck the next batter out and looked like he may have settled in. But ball four on full-count put a man on first.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Buckler started from the windup, which you don’t want to do with an open base at second. He tried to step off and reset but balked in the process. That brought the runner on third home. The next batter hit a routine fly ball deep to right center, and center fielder Jordan Curtis inexplicably dropped it, bringing in another run.
That set the tone for the rest of the night. The Indians put up six runs in the second inning, one in the third, three in the fourth, and four in the sixth.
Some games you just want to forget about and move on. This was certainly one of those games.
“You can’t dwell on a game like this,” McLeod said. “Losing a game like this hurts, and you have to remember what it feels like to hurt like that. We have got to get into the game.”
Tallahassee had been playing good ball of late, winning 8 of their last 9 games, which made Tuesday night all the more disappointing for McLeod. Postgame, the Eagles manager poured it all out to his team.
McLeod was clearly disappointed with the play—TCC committed six errors—but what was even more egregious was the atmosphere in the dugout where players milled around in their usual manner. After the game, McLeod implored his team to play with more heart, telling the Eagle squad kneeling on the left field line, a loss like this has to hurt.
“We have to give ourselves a chance to get our feet on the ground,” McLeod said. “Today we took ourselves out of it so quick that we never felt settled at all. We have to show up for the next game and not let that happen again.”
Well see if the message gets across. TCC has its shot at redemption Thursday at 5PM, when they will again play host to Chipola.