JEFFERSON CITY — After the game, Hickman baseball coach Dan Devine didn't go into the dugout.
Instead, he walked past the dugout with sophomore first baseman Cody Polton. Devine and Polton walked about 20 feet past the dugout along the fence toward left field.
A few minutes earlier, Polton was involved in the final, deciding play of the game, which resulted in a 7-6 Kewpies loss Wednesday evening in Jefferson City.
"Why didn't you turn?" Devine asked Polton in a voice loud enough to hear from behind the dugout. "When you practice the right way, you can prevent these things from happening."
With a runner at third base, a Crusader batter popped a ball out to right field. Hickman senior Tyler Cramer caught the ball and whipped it to Polton, the cut-off man. Instead of shifting sideways to throw the ball home, Polton was facing Cramer. He slung it home to senior catcher Colby Fitch in an attempt to throw out the Helias runner who had tagged from third.
The runner slid to the side of home plate to avoid Fitch, who caught the ball in front of him and swept his glove hand down to tag the runner. But it was too late and the runner sneaked his hand onto home plate under Fitch's glove.
The Hickman supporters put their hands up in disbelief because they thought Fitch had tagged the runner out.
"You know, I couldn't really see from where I was standing," Devine said.
But Fitch didn't hesitate after the game when asked if he tagged him.
"He got under (the tag)," Fitch said. "Definitely safe."
After the game, Devine said his talk with Polton was just about getting better. It's early in the season, so he wants his players to progress.
But he was happy with how his team bounced back from committing a handful of errors in the fourth inning to go down by two runs. The fifth inning, Hickman scored three runs to go back on top.
Unfortunately for the Kewpies, the next two runs were by Helias.
Hickman hopes to get in a good practice Thursday before going back to Jefferson City on Friday for the Capital City Tournament.
Supervising editor is Sasu Siegelbaum