Lewiston, Idaho – Emotional highs and lows can be very difficult for athletes. Some of that might have taken a toll on the No. 5 Tigers against Southern Polytechnic State University.
Georgetown College baseball dug another hole, erased the deficit, but did not have enough left in the tank to finish the comeback and stay alive at the 2014 Avista NAIA World Series.
"It has been a long and tough couple of weeks," said GC coach Micah Baumfeld. "I'm proud of my guys for the way they fought to get us here and fought in each of these games we had here. As a coach there is nothing more I can ask of them. We've built on each success we've had since winning our first MSC Tournament title three years ago and I don't expect anything less.
"These seniors have made what we did in 2012 a tradition and now it is up to these underclassmen to carry that banner and to fight to get back here next year. Our expectations are high."
The Tigers rallied in the sixth with three runs off two hits and an exciting safe suicide squeeze bunt play at the plate. However, Southern Polytechnic State University answered right back in the seventh. SPSU had a one-out single and double to knock Edwin Santiago from the game. A wild pitch to the next hitter scored the winning run. That batter drew a walk and then a double play ended Southern Poly's rally.
The Hornets scored their first run of the tournament in the third. GC tied the game in the third after Ryan Rodriguez singled, was bunted to second and scored on a two-out single from Tyler Coker.
SPSU responded right back with two more runs in the fourth and a run in the sixth for a lead that stood until the bottom of the sixth.
"Things happen and some of the breaks did not go our way out here, but that is baseball," Baumfeld said. "A bad hop, a mental breakdown, an unlucky bounce, you brush it off and keep playing. That is what we did. After the rollercoaster we've been on it could have been easy for us to get down and frustrated. We didn't. We fought every game here. I'm extremely proud of this team."
Martin Lemus got the sixth inning going with a single to left center. Steven Mancilla was hit by a pitch and Armando Lomeli delivered an RBI single for a 4-2 game. The Hornets tried to catch Lemus scoring, allowing Mancilla to take an extra base. With a runner on third, Tigers down two, and no outs, Baumfeld rolled the dice. He put on the suicide squeeze. David Higuera executed it perfectly and despite the ball reaching home before Mancilla, the junior slid under the tag and the game was 4-3 with no outs and runners on first and second.
"It was a gamble, but we needed something to change the momentum and flow," Baumfeld said.
When the dust settled, SPSU head coach had been tossed from the game, Georgetown trailed one and had no outs with two runners aboard. Michael Encinas hit a frozen rope to left that almost caught the Hornet outfielder off guard, but he adjusted just in time to make the grab for out one.
Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Duran Elmore was hit by a pitch to tie the game. Unfortunately a grounder up the middle resulted in a double play to end Georgetown's final real threat.
In a wild twist, the Tigers lost 5-4 (the exact two benchmarks Baumfeld likes to see his team achieve – score five or more and hold a team to four or less) in both games. They were the first team since 1991 to lose two games by the same score.