The pang of Jake Kindle’s bat energized a crowd at Liberty Park that had sat through the sunset and a six-run inning that saw Smith-Cotton commit two errors and lose a three-run lead to the Platte County Pirates.
Jake had just tied the game at seven, and illustrated the message seniors in the Tiger dugout told him before his at bat.
“Our senior leaders kind of picked us up,” Jake said. “We told everybody to start talking, and get everybody up. Don’t let the energy go out.”
Those same seniors – Jake McFail and Jake’s brother Sam – poured a bottle of water on his head after a 10-8 victory Wednesday at part of the West Central Missouri Baseball Tournament.
Head coach Jud Kindle said Jake, who is competing for an everyday position at right field, is in a hot streak at the plate.
“Jake’s winning a position,” Jud Kindle said. “That’s what he’s trying to do right now. He’s hitting the ball extremely well. He’s hitting everything on the barrel. Hopefully he stays hot.”
Dalton Zaremba started for the Tigers and allowed seven runs in four innings.
The Pirates scored six runs in the fourth inning after five consecutive batters reached safely. After three hits and two errors put runners at the corners, Austin Gammill cleared the bases with a double to make the score 7-4.
Gammill was thrown out at home to end the Pirates’ big inning.
Platte County stretched the range of the Smith-Cotton infield. Tyler Abney booted a ball on a play to his right, and misfired a throw to first on a play even further to his left.
Jud Kindle said he never doubted his offense could bounce back from a bad inning.
“There’s no doubt, we can hit,” he said. “Teams that can hit can always pitch themselves back into the game. Getting into the situation we did – we weren’t playing our best baseball up until the last couple innings. We finally settled down and did some good things right late.”
Pitching in relief of Zaremba, Gavin Jones retired the Pirates in order in the top of the fifth. The Tigers roared back with five runs in the next frame. With one out and two on, Jake Kindle laced a first-pitch fastball into the right field gap to tie the game at seven.
Landon Dove gave Smith-Cotton a 9-7 lead with a 2-out single.
Chase Plymell was 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles. He scored one Tiger run in the sixth after drawing a leadoff walk.
Jones allowed one run on two hits in the sixth, but closed the game with a strikeout of Platte County’s Justin Mitchell.
“I just wanted to throw strikes and limit the damage so I could give us a chance to win the game,” Jones said. “We were fortunate to have made as many mistakes as we did and still come out with a win.”
The Tigers defeated Truman 4-3 Tuesday to open the West Central Tournament. They host Blue Springs South at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Liberty Park. First pitch may be scheduled earlier, depending on duration of prior games.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2