Maybe Hickman should have stayed in bed Monday.
Nothing went right for the Kewpies in Monday’s 10-0 loss to Francis Howell at Hickman Field. The Kewpies made seven errors that led to six unearned runs in a game that ended in five innings because of the 10-run rule.
Kyle Smith pitched for Hickman (6-6) and gave up eight hits, but didn’t get much help from his defense in the fourth and fifth innings.
“You can’t pitch around that many errors,” Hickman coach Kent Fewell said. “The ball’s going to be hit somewhere and if you can make the plays … you have maybe a 3-0 or 4-0 ballgame.”
Josh Street hit two-run home runs in the first and fifth innings for Francis Howell (11-8).
“It was the only bad pitch I threw in the first inning,” Smith said. “(The fastball) was supposed to be up and in and I just didn’t get it high enough.”
After Street’s second home run, Andy Rohne reached when Smith bobbled a bunt, and Rohne moved to third after Tyler Jones dropped a deep fly ball in right field. A walk loaded the bases, and then Jeremy Opfer’s single rolled past center fielder Jim McNeil and scored the Vikings’ final three runs.
“It just amazes me,” Fewell said. “We have top quality players and we just fell apart.”
McNeil was in center field as a replacement. Fewell shuffled his defense after Hickman’s four errors in the fourth.
Second baseman Andrew Mueller committed two errors on one play in the fourth inning when he booted a potential double-play ground ball then overthrew first baseman Eric Schultz.
Mueller’s troubles were not over. After third baseman Casey McIntosh’s throwing error made the score 3-0, Mueller dropped a pop up in short right field to allow another run.
The Kewpies had problems at the plate as well. They stranded a runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings, and could not get a runner on base in the fourth or fifth.
“We’ve been falling behind a lot, it’s hard to play when you’re down runs and you’ve got to come back against tough pitching,” Smith said. “We’ve just got to jump ahead.”
Tyler Kasper, Francis Howell’s starter, got out of the fourth on three pitches. Schultz, Joe Gaboury and McIntosh all lined out on the first pitch.
In the first, Blake Tekotte singled to center and Justin Jackson followed with a double off the right field wall. Fewell waved Tekotte home but the relay throw from Matt Niemeier came in plenty of time to get Tekotte at the plate.
Base-running problems continued in the second, when Gaboury was doubled off first base after McIntosh’s line drive to right field.
“I ran us out of the first inning and we ran ourselves out of the second,” Fewell said.
An early sign of Hickman’s defensive woes came in the third when Gaboury and Tekotte collided in left-center field while chasing a fly ball. Gaboury held on for the out, and neither player was hurt.
“If you can’t play defense that gets everybody down,” Fewell said. “You fight yourself all game.”