SULPHUR – All it took was a big inning for Kinder to derail Doyle's state championship dream.
The Yellow Jackets put together an eight-run third inning, sparking an 11-4 win over the Tigers in the Class 2A title game Monday at McMurry Park.
"Anytime you have a bad inning, it’s going to be tough to overcome," Doyle coach Tim Beatty said after the No. 2-seeded Tigers finished the season at 29-12. "Our guys competed. When you’re pitching from behind a lot and walking some guys, it’s tough to overcome. They had the big inning and we just couldn’t avoid it. That’s just what happens in baseball. When you get ahead, stay ahead.”
Doyle led 4-0 before Kinder’s big inning got rolling on Micheal Fontenot’s two-run home run after Colin Klein singled to lead off the frame.
Beatty lifted starter Brock Adams for Andrew Yuratich, who walked Hayes Fawcett, Bryce Henderson and Matthew Robertson to score another run, setting up Ian LeBuff’s single to left field to knot the game at 4-4.
The fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets tacked on two more runs on an errant pickoff throw and Brooks Fawcett’s RBI single to center field – all before the Tigers recorded the first out of the inning.
Two outs later, Fontenot, who had four RBIs in the inning and finished 3-for-4 with a run and five RBIs, had a 2-run single up the middle for an 8-4 lead.
“We had to force-feed some fastballs and they made us pay for it because we were behind in the count a little bit early in the game," Beatty said. "No. 7’s (Fontenot) a big-time swinger. He made us pay for it a couple of times."
Kinder padded the lead in the fourth when LeBuff nailed a one-out double down the third base line. Yuratich was lifted for Hunter Mizell, who gave up a single to Brooks Fawcett before the Yellow Jackets got a run on a wild pitch.
Mizell gave up a pair of walks to load the bases and Kolt Mitchell came on to pitch for the Tigers. Fontenot’s sacrifice fly to left field made the score 10-4.
Brooks Fawcett held the Tigers in check after the big inning, giving up a single to Cole Mack in the third, while Tyson Stewart was hit by a pitch in the fifth. He gave up three hits, one run and struck out two in 5.1 innings of relief to get the win.
"I guess when we got down, we let our heads fall and we let up a lot and kind of lost the momentum," Mack said. "We've been talking about momentum swings all year. They got the momentum, and it definitely bit us. Here and there, there's been long innings like that, but nothing that bad."
That was in contrast to the Tigers, who used five pitchers who combined to give up 12 hits, 10 walks and struck out four.
Mitchell said his approach to entering the game in a tough spot wasn't complicated.
"We had a lot of walks, and I was just trying to stay away from all the walks," Mitchell said after giving up four hits, three walks and a run and striking out three in three innings. "Other than that, (it was) throw strikes. That was the main thing -- throw strikes and make them put the ball in play and get the outs and quit giving them runs."
Doyle didn’t threaten again until Mitchell led off the sixth with a single. Mason Davis singled with two outs and moved to second on a throwing error from the outfield, but courtesy runner Charlie Lewis was thrown out at the plate to end the inning when he attempted to score on a wild pitch.
Brooks Fawcett’s one-out single to right with the bases loaded pushed the lead to 11-4 in the top of the seventh, and the Tigers were retired in order to end the game.
Doyle got on the board first as Davis was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Cade Watts’ single to right field.
Braden Keen reached on a throwing error at third, and Stewart’s grounder to second scored another run for a 2-0 lead. Braden Mclin walked and stole second, but Mack grounded into fielder’s choice at third, cutting down a runner at the plate, and Yuratich struck out looking to end the inning.
Adams worked around a leadoff single to Matthew Robertson in the second and led off the bottom of the inning with a double off the left field wall. One out later, Davis and Watts drew consecutive walks to load the bases, and Brooks Fawcett came on to relive Kinder starter Gavin Chavillier.
Keen reached on an error at third, which scored a pair of runs for a 4-0 lead before Watts was caught in a rundown between second at third and Stewart popped out to center field to end the inning.
"Our goal was to come out there and do pretty much what we did, but we've got to do that and then work together in the end," Mack said.
Adams hit Klein and walked Fontenot to lead off the game but retired the next three batters to get out of the inning.
Even with the loss, Beatty was proud of what his team accomplished this season.
"Our guys played great," he said. "I’m proud of them. We’re No. 2 -- not too bad to end the year. A lot of people wish they could end the year here.”
The News is interested in your feedback! Please tap here to leave some thoughts on our feedback form or follow this link: