SULPHUR – Doyle baseball coach Tim Beatty said there are times where the first and last out of an inning can be the most difficult for a defensive team to achieve.
The Tigers found that out the hard way, something that will undoubtedly linger throughout the offseason, potentially carrying into next season.
Within the span of moments No. 2 Doyle watched a four-run lead evaporate when No. 5 Kinder erupted for eight runs in the top of the third inning, taking the lead for good en route to a 11-4 victory Monday in the Class 2A state championship game at McMurry Park.
“There were only two games this year where we gave up that many runs in one inning,” Beatty said. “I thought the guys handled it well. Sometimes that first out and last out in that inning is tough to get. They both were.”
The first state championship appearance in 19 years for Doyle went accordingly in the early stages, taking a 4-0 lead into the third inning.
Cade Watts’ bloop single to right field produced the game’s initial run in the first inning when Mason Davis slid home safely on the play and a throwing error led to another run.
Brock Adams led off the second with a double to the wall in left field and after Doyle loaded the bases with two outs, knocking out Kinder starting pitcher Gavin Chavallier, the Tigers took advantage of a two-run throwing error.
“I thought when we jumped out there, I thought this was going good,” Beatty said. “Then we kind of settled in.”
There was a thunderous boom to the top of the third, the kind that signaled Kinder’s arrival following a shaky first two innings.
The game’s Most Outstanding Player, third baseman Michael Fontenot, sent a two-run home run over the fence in left field off Doyle starter Brock Adams, who yielded a lead-off single to Colin Klein.
“It got them pumped up and got them believing they weren’t out of it,” Beatty said.
It was just the start of an eight-run avalanche in which Kinder sent 14 batters to the plate, including eight straight at one point against Doyle’s top two pitchers – Adams and Andrew Yuratich, who was summoned in relief after Adams failed to record an out in the third following a hit batter.
“We were going to let Brock go as long as he could,” Beatty said. “We can always question ourselves whether we made the right decision. Andrew’s been our guy all year. I thought the first chance we needed to get him in, we found that chance. He’s had a terrific season and he’s a terrific guy. To be a pitcher, you don’t always have your best stuff.”
Adams lasted 49 pitches when Yuratich, who pitched a complete-game in last Wednesday’s 5-2 state semifinal victory, walked three straight batters with Matthew Robertson’s full-count walk forcing in a run.
A run-scoring single from Ian Labuff tied the game at 4-4 and Kinder went ahead for good on an errant pickoff throw at second base. The Yellow Jackets added run-scoring hits from Brooks Fawcett and Fontenot, who had four RBIs in the inning.
“We got a lead and then we kind of struggled with command of the fastball,” Beatty said. “We kind of just lost it in the (strike) zone which is something we hadn’t done all year. It kind of showed its ugly head.”
Doyle walked four batters and hit another during the fateful third inning. The Tigers wound up allowing 12 hits, walking 10, hitting three batters and uncorking three wild pitches.
Beatty went through a total of five pitchers with Hunter Mizell and Kolt Mitchell coming in relief in the fourth in which Kinder scored twice to make it 10-4 before adding another run in the seventh.
Mitchell had the most effecting outing, yielding one run on four hits over three innings when Hunter Bankston finished up the final two outs.
“You could see the balloon’s kind of deflated, it was a long inning,” Beatty said of the third. “Baseball’s a very humbling sport. It teaches you the ups and downs, the kind the kids will look for in life. I hope they learn from it.”
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