When you play with fire, you will get burned and that is exactly what the Muckdogs (7-15) did Wednesday night against the league-leading Williamsport Crosscutters (17-6).
Brad Haynal got the Muckdogs on the board in the second when he doubled, moved to third on a bloop single by Eric Fisher and then scored on a Roy Morales RBI single.
The Crosscutters, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, responded in the third with two runs of their own.
Austin Bossart, who came into the game hitting .310, punched a single off Batavia starter Justin Jacome. Grenny Cumana then doubled down the left-field line, setting up second and third for lead-off man Zach Coppola.
Coppola would double, scoring both Bossart and Cumana, making it 2-1.
Batavia added two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning when Anfernee Seymour singled and then moved to third on a beautifully called and executed hit-and-run with Travis Brewster.
Seymour would score on a Stone Garrett groundout and Brewster would later score on a Haynal double.
The lead was short lived for the Muckdogs when in the fourth, Josh Tobias connected on an infield single; Jesus Posso walked followed by a Bossart two-out single scoring Tobias, and tying the game at 3-3.
Jacome walked the next batter to load the bases, ending his night. Nestor Bautsita came in and got Coppola to groundout into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
The sixth inning is where it all fell apart for the Muckdogs.
William Cuicas tripled to lead off the inning and then scored on a Cumana pop-up just past first base that should have been caught. Cumana was able to move to second on the throw from the outfield to home trying to get Cuicas.
Coppola then executed a perfect bunt that had the pitcher, second baseman and first baseman for the Muckdogs all converging on it. The ball went under Alfonzo’s glove and Cumana was able to score making it 5-3.
“It’s part of this level and it hurts you,” Manager Angel Espada said. “You can’t hurt yourself defensively, not at anytime and not against the best team in the league right now.”
Although Batavia shot themselves in the foot in the sixth inning, they were still able to tie the game up in seventh, giving themselves a chance to win the game.
A Blake Anderson singled that just got over the outstretched hands of Crosscutter second baseman, Cuicas started off the inning.
Ryan Cranmer then doubled, putting runners in scoring position with no outs. Seymour then got hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Galvi Moscat, who replaced Brewster in sixth, hit a ground ball to third. The third baseman easily got Anderson out at home but in an attempt to double off Moscat at first, the catcher hit Moscat in the leg, allowing Cranmer to score.
Garrett then doubled home Seymour and the game was tied at 5-5.
“The way we have been playing is pretty well, we had that one bad inning there and it cost us the game,” Espada said. “You give a team like this opportunities and they are going to hurt you.”
The Crosscutters would get the deciding run in the top of the ninth inning by way of a solo home run by Jan Hernandez off of Batavia reliever Jordan Hillyer. Hernandez, who had previously struck out in all three of his previous at-bats, launched the 2-1 pitch over the left field fence.
“He threw a slider that caught too much of the plate and you have to give it to Hernandez who put up a good swing with two strikes,” Espada said.
The Muckdogs were set down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Haynal finished the game 2-for-4 with two doubles and a RBI. Seymour went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Garrett also contributed with two RBIs.
“It’s a little bit hard when you have your best guys going out there and probably one of the best chances to win ball games and you don’t come out on top,” Espada said.
The Muckdogs will have a chance to regroup quickly as they have a unique starting time of 11:05 a.m. on Thursday.
“I think they are young enough that they will bounce back,” Espada said. “Even if you win or lose you have to forget about it, there is nothing you can do about past games.”
Batavia remains in last place with a record of 7-16 while the Crosscutters continue their league dominance with an overall 18-6 record.