DeKALB – The DeKalb baseball team was holding a three-run lead entering the bottom of the seventh inning against Dundee-Crown. And, that is when it started to fall apart.
Dundee-Crown scored three runs in the seventh to tie the score and scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth to defeat DeKalb, 5-4, in a Class 4A DeKalb Regional semifinal Thursday.
“It was a tough loss,” Barbs coach Jason Howells said. “We made some very costly mistakes toward the end of the game. I am really proud of the way our guys competed for the first six seven innings. And, it was a bizarre way to lose the game.”
Leading 2-1 entering the seventh inning, the Barbs tacked on two more runs when Jared Johnson doubled to left field, driving in Jordan Keck and Dylan Farrell.
DeKalb led by three when Austin Hop, who had thrown a gem up until the seventh, walked the first two batters in the seventh. Dominic Buckner came in and relieved Hop. Hop threw six innings and allowed one run on three hits when he was pulled.
“I can’t walk those two batters to start off the seventh inning,” Hop said. “We did good until the very end, then it just fell apart.”
Buckner walked the next Dundee-Crown batter, and a sacrafice fly, an RBI single and a botched suicide squeeze later, the scored was tied. The tying run was scored when Nick Munson missed the bunt, and miscommunication among the Barbs infielders allowed Chase Bloch to score.
“We didn’t help him out either," Howells said. "We gave them a couple of extra bases and made some mistakes. And you can see how things turned out. A.J. had been pitching great. He walked the eight and nine hitters to start the seventh inning, and he really didn’t leave us much of a choice.”
DeKalb couldn’t score in the top of the eighth despite Logan Haring and Jake Kuykendall leading off with singles. The Chargers scored the winning run when the bases were loaded and Bloch hit a high chopper to short, where Johnson couldn’t come up with the play.
“I love the guys. They are a bunch of good guys. I love the seniors,” Hop said. “We had some ups and downs during the year. We fought and got a little hot at the end there, then hate to see it end like this.”