After jumping to a 9-0 lead in the top of the first inning during the second game of the Hawks’ doubleheader with Van Meter (11-2), Woodward-Granger did the unimaginable. They lost. Adding to injury, it was the second loss of the night that blew a lead, marking Woodward’s first losing streak of the season.
Dumbfounded by the blown lead, head coach Eric Evans said in his three decades of baseball experience, he had never seen anything like that- failing to hold on to a nine-run lead that early.
“After nine runs and [we] can’t come out and throw strikes. You tell them before every game, ‘Throw strikes. Field the ball. Get on base,’” Evans said. “Everything that could have gone wrong did. And the bad thing is we came back and had a shot to win.”
He added that he wasn’t sure where the team’s mentality was at, unable to make routine plays and falling into Van Meter’s traps.
At the top of the seventh with a chance to tie the game down 13-12, Reese Jamison took off for second base but a second of hesitation got him caught in a game of pickle, giving up the first out and negating a scoring opportunity. Later that inning, Pacey Moats took off after the Bulldogs missed a throw to first base. He headed straight to third with Evans calling him in but his slide was caught in time for the second out, the penultimate dagger.
“I tell people I’m going to take the chance on a high school kid throwing the ball. We’re going to put pressure on them. If we lose that way, we were in it. We had a shot. We’re not going to lay up and just wonder what if?”
Despite the monstrous comeback that Van Meter orchestrated with 11 runs in two innings in response, the Hawks still kept themselves in the game with big outings from Jamison and company.
Woodward has been searching for its first home run of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time than Jamison tying up the game with a two-run shot in the third inning. That round trip was further aided by Bryce Achenbach finding his way to third base to get within one run in the sixth, marking his second triple of the night off of a Van Meter error.
The night wasn’t limited to just the offense’s highs and lows. Evans said if a fifth-inning fly to Achenbach and Worth Henry didn’t drop as they waited for the call, the Bulldogs’ winning run wouldn’t have gone through. At the very least, it would have kept it a tied ballgame.
In the first outing of the evening, there were a number of errors including a missed throw to first base identical to the one that tagged out Moats in Game 2. But unlike that out, Van Meter drove in three runs instead to take a 10-4 lead.
“It’s just baseball,” Evans said. “I admired that [we] came back. I mean, from the third inning on (in the second game), we win the game 3-2. I said it before. The middle of June doesn’t matter. Yeah, conference games matter but we can learn from it and win the last game.”
With the two losses, Woodward falls to 12-3 and has a break until Monday, June 17 visiting West Central Valley for another doubleheader.