Hickman is developing a pattern of falling behind early, and it’s starting to frustrate the Kewpies. Parkway Central beat the Kewpies 9-6 on Saturday after Hickman fell behind 4-0 in the first inning.
Hickman starter Steven Boyer had control problems in the first, walking the first two batters and throwing three wild pitches.
“It’s typical,” Hickman coach Kent Fewell said. “You get behind when you don’t come to play early in the game. You can’t make plays.
“The pitchers walk guys and can’t make plays. You’re not going to win like that.”
Hickman (4-4) fell behind Rock Bridge on Thursday but came back to take the lead in the seventh before losing 7-6 in extra innings.
“You can’t come back in the seventh inning every single game,” Hickman pitcher Matt Schwartz said. “You get four or five runs in the first or second innings and we’ll put people away because we can score runs.”
After the first run scored on Boyer’s second wild pitch, shortstop Kyle Smith made an error to put runners on first and third with one out.
Gordon Rosen singled to left field to score one run and put runners on first and second. After both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Joey Hoffman singled them home.
Boyer walked in another run in the second inning to put Parkway Central ahead 5-0. Fewell called in Josh Terry to get the final out in the second.
“It’s tough to come back from a 5-0 deficit,” Hickman center fielder Blake Tekotte said. “Sometimes the guys get down. They were making some plays and we weren’t making any plays, really.”
Hickman tried to start a rally in the 6th
Down 9-2 entering the bottom of the sixth, Hickman tried to mount a comeback.
Smith drew a leadoff walk and Tekotte followed with a single. Catcher Justin Jackson then hit a double off the left-field wall to score Smith. Schwartz’s double got past left fielder Travis Mitchell and Hickman closed the gap to 9-6.
“(Parkway Central pitcher Dan Hendid) didn’t throw me a fastball over the plate all day, and I finally saw one (on the) first pitch,” Schwartz said. “He had some good off-speed stuff but his fastball wasn’t great.”
Hickman brought the tying run to the plate after shortstop Joey Hoffman and third baseman Ben Wegusen, who had moved from first, committed errors, but Tyler Jones grounded into a fielder’s choice to third.
Andrew Mueller pitched the seventh and escaped a bases loaded jam, but the Kewpies could not capitalize in the bottom of the inning. Hickman went down in order to end the game.
“We came back, yeah,’’ Fewell said. “Well, I’m tired of coming back. It gets old, coming back every game. You need to be ahead to put somebody away.”
Kewpies missed defensive opportunities
Hickman uncharacteristically committed three errors and had a number of opportunities to end innings earlier but could not make the defensive plays.
The bright spot in Hickman’s defense came after Hendid’s single gave Parkway Central a 6-0 lead in the fourth.
Schwartz came on to pitch with no outs and runners on first and third. Schwartz picked off Hendid at first and got Joel Kriss to fly to center. With Shane Rasch tagging from third, Tekotte threw a strike to Jackson to get Rasch out at home and end the inning.
“I knew he was tagging up and the ball was pretty shallow, so I knew I had a pretty good chance of getting it,” Tekotte said. “So I just got it out of my glove and Jackson made a great tag and we got him.”
Hickman scored its first run in the fourth when Tekotte scored while Jackson was caught in a rundown between first and second.
In the fifth, Zach Heath hit a line drive over the right-field fence for a home run to close the score to 9-5. Later in the inning, with Mueller on second and two outs, Smith checked his swing on a 2-2 pitch. The ball went to the backstop and Smith, thinking he had swung at strike three, ran to first.
The throw got away from Wegusen at first, prompting Mueller to try to score. Rosen picked up the ball and threw Mueller out at the plate to end the inning.
Parkway Central used the momentum in the sixth. Schwartz gave up four straight hits, two of them in the infield, and the Colts opened a 9-2 lead.
“When they hit the ball they were little ground balls to third base or jam shots to center field,” Schwartz said. “That happens in baseball.”