VALLEY CENTER— It looked like the McPherson Pipeliners had it won until the bottom of the eighth inning when the Pipeliners gave up eight runs, losing second straight road game on Thursday to the Valley Center Mud Daubers 13-7, a team that received its first win of the year after a 0-2 start.
Everything was going the Pipeliners' way in the beginning after a 7-3 lead going into the fifth. McPherson out hit the Mud Daubers with 14 hits. Valley Center had 11 total. The pitching was also solid compared to Wednesday's loss to the Clearwater Outlaws with Austin Warfel starting on the mound and finishing the night with four strikeouts, surrendering five runs and two errors. However, it was at the last minute when the pitching started to break down, giving up too many runs late in the eighth.
"We got to make better pitches. I've been saying it all year long. Our pitching is going to hurt us if we cant get the ball at the plate," head coach Caleb Hartman said. "Liam Rosebeck came in and did what he suppose to do, and we had the little jam there. I thought we had another guy come in who can do his job. He threw strikes, but they were just hitting all over us with flat fast balls, and they just capitalize on the fast balls."
Rosebeck was the reliever for Warfel after lasting for seven innings. Corey Steward would then take over as the closer. Both combined for eight runs and two errors. Steward had six of those runs he gave up when he was on the mound in the late nnings.
"I felt confident with our pitching tonight. Warfel threw well for us and Rosebeck came in and did what we wanted him to do," Hartman said. "We got into a little bit of a jam. It's not a big issue because we got guys who can come in behind him. At that point they just capitalize on our closer Steward. Steward didn't have his best stuff tonight and it showed."
Pipeliners committed seven errors in their loss as well. Three errors were from starting catcher John Mareks' missed throws to second base to get the base runners out. Hartman felt disappointed in McPherson's defensive performance, letting another game slip away late by mental errors.
"I think you play to your competition," Hartman said. "As you could tell, we're letting our competition back in the ball game. We're not stepping on the throws, backing off and playing with the lead. I want to keep putting up runs up on the board, and we're not doing that. Eight runs on eight innings should not happen ever.
Both Luke Quick and Lance Russell tied for three hits at bat. Kyler Cox led the team with two RBIs
The Pipeliners has one more road game on Friday before their next home on Saturday. They will be traveling to face the Wellington Heat on June 8. First pitch will be at 7 p.m.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_or our sports page @MacCountySports