JEFFERSON CITY — Every member of the Hickman baseball team has been fielding baseballs for years.
It’s a skill many of them probably learned soon after they learned how to walk, talk and share their toys.
Unfortunately for the Kewpies, though, this fundamental skill eluded some of them when they needed it most Saturday as they lost 4-3 to the McCluer North Stars in the championship game of the Capital City Baseball Invitational at Ernie Vivion Field in Jefferson City.
The Kewpies’ fielding woes allowed the Stars (7-3) to score all of their runs unearned, with each of the Kewpies’ four errors resulting in a McCluer North run.
Hickman’s spotty defense didn’t sit well with its coach David Wilson.
“The game of baseball is all about throwing and catching the ball,” Wilson said, visibly frustrated with his team’s performance in the field. “It doesn’t matter how hard you work, you have to perform when you’re out there. It’s just very uncharacteristic of our team.”
One error proved to be extremely costly for the Kewpies (5-4).
With the bases loaded and one out in the third inning, Hickman pitcher Drew Mitrisin fielded a ground ball that should have led to an inning-ending double play. Instead, the throw sailed to the right of second base, allowing the Stars to score their first run without any outs being recorded.
The Stars added another run one batter later when McCluer North senior Tom Latimore hit a sacrifice fly.
“We handed them the ball game,” Wilson said. “Every single error came back to bite us. We have to get better defensively.”
Wilson didn’t take any comfort knowing that his team came close to winning a tournament that was laden with talented teams.
The tournament boasted three teams ranked among the top 10 in the state, according to MOSports.com, including the No. 1 Blue Springs Wildcats and the No. 2 Jefferson City Jays.
“I like the way we competed, but moral victories aren’t what we’re looking for,” Wilson said. “We had a chance to win a championship today. We’re just going to take some lessons from this and move on.”
Hickman will return to action at 5 p.m. Thursday when it hosts Rock Bridge.