VALLEY CENTER— The McPherson Pipeliners returned to Valley Center on Wednesday night, and despite rallying late in the bottom ninth, it wasn't enough to seal the win as the Valley Center Mud Daubers defeated the Pipeliners 9-7.
Errors continued to play a factor for both teams with the Pipeliners recorded four errors, and Mud Daubers had three. The Pipeliners took advantage of the Mud Daubers' first two errors by scoring two runs led by Dominick Trevino's RBI, making it 2-0 in the top of the first.
The Mud Daubers would answer back with three runs of their own with a pair of RBI singles by two Valley Center players. McPherson would go scoreless in the next five innings with three hits. The Pipeliners would trail 8-2 going into the top of the seventh.
"Hitting was there, and pitching across the board wasn't bad," head coach Caleb Hartman said. "The little stuff is just beating us, and it's been that way the whole year."
C.J. Cecil made his first start on the mound for McPherson. Hartman labeled the San Diego, California native a ground ball pitcher, and because he's a ground ball pitcher, his defense must back him up. The defense wasn't there Wednesday night for the Pipeliners. As a result, Cecil would give away six earned runs and seven hits.
"C.J. (Cecil) did his job," Hartman said. "He threw the ball across the plate, he got ground balls, he got fly outs, he just didn't have any help behind him. You got to have help behind you when you're a ground ball pitcher and C.J. is a ground ball pitcher. Without help, pitch count goes high, and it showed."
The Pipeliners was down but not out as they caught up with the Mud Daubers in the final four innings led by Luke Quick's RBI single and double. Valley Center's last two errors and their struggling bullpen also kept the Pipeliners in the game right from the bottom of the ninth when McPherson trailed two runs with two outs left. Unfortunately, time ran out for the Pipeliners after the final out.
"At that point it's about seeing the ball well," Hartman said. "Their closer came in to beat us, and we had his number. We just started out too late with two outs. A rally with two outs is doable, it's been done before, but it's tough.
After Wednesday's loss, the Pipeliners fall to 8-21 in their league. The two will meet one more time on Friday at home. The Pipeliners return to the Light Capital Diamond on Thursday as they will have one more shot at beating the Clearwater Outlaws, a ball club McPherson have yet to defeat. First pitch will start at 7 p.m.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_or our sports page @MacCountySports