EARLY — The Early Longhorns notched the first three runs of the night, but 11 stranded base runners and a Wall Hawks’ surge later, the host team found itself on the wrong end of a 10-3 decision Tuesday.
“We didn’t finish the game,” said Early head coach Blake Sandford. “We started off well and for three or so innings I thought we did pretty good.”
The Longhorns (5-3), who defeated Wall by a 9-1 count on Feb. 26, scored once in the second inning and twice more in the third.
Bubba Reynolds reached on an error to start the second inning and, after moving to second base on a sacrifice bunt, scored on a one-out RBI single to left by Drew Sessler.
During the third inning, Nick Alcorta doubled to left-center field to plate Cojo Guidry, who reached on a fielder’s choice. Reynolds later singled home Alcorta to extend the lead to 3-0.
With Reynolds on following his single, Cody Jones on due to a walk and Tristan Horton reaching base following a dropped third strike, Early was poised to extend its lead with just one out in the inning.
The next two Longhorns struck out, however, which began a trend of eight runners left stranded over the final five innings.
Wall immediately closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the fourth as Lane Oliver was hit by a pitch and Dryden Virden walked, both of whom scored on RBI ground outs by Chase Smith and Matthew Garcia.
The Longhorns left two more runners stranded in the bottom of the fourth, while Wall erupted for four runs in the top of the fifth inning to secure a 6-3 advantage.
Clayton Daniel and Tucker Caveness walked, and both scored on an RBI single by Virden, which pushed the Hawks in front, 4-3. An error and a wild pitch later in the inning allowed Virden and Garrett Sanford, who walked, to cross the plate.
“We started hitting batters and walking batters to lead off innings and when you do that those guys tend to score,” Sandford said. “They started pecking away a little bit and before long we’re not getting run production, leaving the bases loaded and not scoring from third base.”
Wall tacked on four insurance runs in the top of the sixth to ice the victory.
Early is slated to visit Breckenridge at 1:30 p.m. Friday for a doubleheader.
“We came out ready to play tonight and I think we still have a good ball team,” Sandford said. “This is just one game and the district race hasn’t started yet.”