Errors – including three in the seventh inning – plagued the Bridgeport Bulls in a 12-3 loss to the Kennedale Wildcats Thursday at Eagle Mountain-Saginaw’s Boswell High School in Fort Worth.
The defending Class 3A state champions scored six runs in the final inning to take the first game of the bi-district series.
“Mental errors on the field and physical errors hurt us, especially that last inning,” said pitcher Reese Read. “It really should’ve been 6-2 at the end, not 12-3.”
The Wildcats pounced on the Bulls in their first at-bat. After Read forced a pop fly by the first batter and walked the next (designated hitter Nick Williams), Zac Michener blasted a line drive to center field to score Williams.
The run was the only one on the scoreboard through two innings until Kennedale tacked on another two with a two-run triple in the third.
After forcing a groundout and striking out the first two batters, Read walked Michener. The next batter, Clint Crabtree, reached base on an error by Bulls shortstop Alex Samples.
Bret Taylor blasted the triple, bringing Michener and Crabtree home, for a 3-0 lead.
Bridgeport responded with Read hitting a two-run triple of his own to pull the Bulls within one, 3-2.
It scored Hulsey and Samples, who reached base on a fielder’s choice and double, respectively.
The next inning, Kennedale broke away, scoring three unmatched runs to make the game 6-2.
Austin Hunt reached base on a fly ball to centerfield. Read then struck out the next batter before walking Chayce Coltharp.
Cole Thompson then reached base on a sacrifice bunt. With the bases loaded, Nick Williams crushed a line-drive triple, scoring Taylor Smith (courtesy runner for Hunt), Coltharp and Thompson.
Read struck out the next batter and forced a ground out by Taylor for the last out of the inning, Read’s last for the game.
“I didn’t make the quality pitches when I needed to,” Read said. “They were ready to hit the ball, and I walked a few batters.”
Reliever Branon Huff silenced Kennedale bats through two innings before the Wildcats ripped the game open in the seventh.
After Taylor reached on an error by Samples and Jordan Braswell singled to left field, Brett Hunt reached base after being hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Coltharp then singled to left field to score Taylor, making its 7-2.
That was it for Huff, who was relieved by Damian Delgado.
The next two batters, Thompson and Williams, reached base on errors by second-baseman Erik Delgadillo and brought in four runs to make the score 11-2.
Michener grounded out to second base but scored Williams to make it 12-2.
The Bulls responded with one run by Jake Hulsey in the seventh, but it was not enough.
“When you’re playing the defending state champion, you gotta play your best game,” Bridgeport coach Ted Leps said. “We just didn’t play very well; our kids know that. We made a lot of errors, and it gave them more at-bats. The good thing is we’re playing a series. We have another chance [Friday] to bring it to a third game. It’s hard to do anything different after 29 games. We just have to play like we’ve been playing all year and hopefully cut down on the mistakes we made (Thursday).”
If the Bulls won Friday, they were to play a tiebreaker 11 a.m. Saturday at Boswell.