STATE CENTER — The last two games PCM’s baseball team has played on the West Marshall field has resulted in 15 errors.
On July 13, PCM had seven miscues and the pitchers also walked five batters during an 8-7 loss to South Hamilton in Class 2A District 13 quarterfinal action.
“I don’t know what it is with playing here, but we’ve just struggled lately,” PCM baseball coach Jeff Lindsay said. “You hate that that happens, but you have to find ways to get through it.”
The Mustangs battled through the ups and downs. The game was scheduled to take place on July 11 but rain and lightning forced a suspension to a few days later.
PCM led 5-4 when play stopped over the weekend. South Hamilton, which defeated the Mustangs three times this summer, took the lead for good with a three-run fifth inning.
The fourth-seeded Mustangs got within one run two different times but just couldn’t get over the hump.
“I thought the guys competed well. It would have been real easy when we got down the past couple of days to put their heads down, but they didn’t,” Lindsay said. “They kept fighting and I appreciate that.”
South Hamilton scored three runs in the first inning back on July 11 and then Durant Van Dyke’s two-out, two-run double made it 3-2 after one inning.
The Hawks (9-7) plated another runner against PCM starter Beau Webb to go up 4-2.
But the Mustangs (7-9) went back in front in the bottom half of the inning. Gabe Steenhoek reached on an error, Kolten Johnson walked and Connor Bennett loaded the bases with a bunt single.
Run-scoring infield singles by Sage Burns and Dane Owens and an RBI fielder’s choice by Andrew Mitchell put PCM in front 5-4.
The game was suspended with two outs in the bottom of the third and it was completed on July 13.
West Marshall eliminated sixth-seeded Colfax-Mingo 13-3 in six innings on July 13.
When play resumed between PCM and South Hamilton, Mitchell and South Hamilton’s Elijah Balderas were on their games on the mound.
Both pitchers struck out a pair in the fourth inning. The Hawks were able to take advantage of back-to-back two-out errors in the fifth inning.
Mitchell got the first two outs in the frame but the errors extended South Hamilton’s at-bat. Two batters later, the Hawks had a 7-5 lead.
The Mustangs answered with one of their own in the fifth. Owens singled and scored on Caleb Duinink’s RBI double.
PCM couldn’t take advantage of a one-out error though and trailed 7-6 after fifth innings.
South Hamilton scored another unearned run in the sixth. Tycin Barkema walked and went to second and third on wild pitches. After another walk, Barkema scored on a throwing error to first base during an attempted pick off play.
That would be all the Hawks got, but it was enough for Balderas. He struck out six in four innings and got the win after allowing two runs on four hits.
Balderas got the Mustangs in order in the sixth, but Owens started the seventh with an infield single. He went to second on a passed ball.
After two strikeouts, Webb delivered an RBI single to center field. That wasn’t enough though as the game ended with a pop fly to the shortstop.
“Despite how we played defensively, and where we were sitting, we still had a chance to win in the last inning. It’s just unfortunate,” Lindsay said. “We gave ourselves an opportunity. We just didn’t get enough guys across the plate.”
Webb started on the mound for PCM and pitched three innings on July 11, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with one walk and one hit batter.
Mitchell took the loss, pitching 2 1/3 innings and surrendering four runs — none earned — on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts.
Derek Brown pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed no runs on no hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Owens had three hits and two runs to lead the offense. Van Dyke had two RBIs.
Quinton Grove led the Hawks with three hits, two runs and two RBIs.
South Hamilton advanced to the district final with a 3-2 win over 2A No. 7 Roland-Story on July 16 but were eliminated by Des Moines Christian in that championship game a few days later.