“I am very disappointed,“ TC head coach Will Ramos said. “I am disappointed with the pitchers. I think we walked about 10 guys and hit three batters. The first five runs that they scored they didn’t have a base hit, so it was all walks and hit batters. The offense keeps giving the team a chance to win, but when the pitchers cannot throw a strike you can not beat a team like Faulkner.”
The No.3 team in the nation was able to turn TC’s mistakes into runs.
Zac Colby got things started with a hit in the first inning. Pinch runner Antonio Kendrick stole second base and reached third on a ground out. Kendrick scored by stealing home to take a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first inning, former TC Central standout Dion Duncan led the game off with a single to left field. The nation’s leading hitter coming into the game was Kameron Mizzell. The former B.B.Comer standout had a .511 batting average coming into the game. Mizzell went 1-for-4 from the plate, which included a single up the middle to score Duncan to tie the game up at 1-1.
Walks and an error hurt the Tornadoes (21-14) in the top of the second inning. Nelson Marchan walked Jacob Oster, which was his fourth walk of the game. Oster advanced to second and third base on a pass ball and a wild pitch. He scored on a Chase Benfield error. The error also allowed Brook Boudreaux, who reached base on a walk to advance to third base. Michael Cruz hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Boudreaux.
TC responded in the bottom half of the inning. With a runner on first base, Will Thompson hit a two- run bomb to right field to tie the game at 3-3.
In the third and fourth innings, Faulkner scored four runs on zero hits to take a 7-3 lead.
In the third inning, Marchan walked David Bishop. He stole second and third base to get into scoring position. Darius Holguin hit a sacrifice fly to score Bishop to make it 4-3.
An error on Thompson allowed Boudreaux to reach base. After advancing to third on a fly out, Boudreaux scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3.
Marchan was pulled for TC’s ace from last season Viso Gabrielle who hasn’t pitched since February. Gabrielle walked the first three batters he faced to walk in a run to make it 6-3. A wild pitch allowed Ethan Williams to score to increase their lead to 7-3.
The Tornadoes battled their way back into the game. Castillo singled to lead off the fourth inning. He went to second on a wild pitch. Josh Thompson hit a triple to score Castillo.
Duncan led the fifth inning off with a double to left center field. Benfield hit a single up the middle to advance Duncan to third base. Nerio Barretto grounded out to the second baseman, which allowed Duncan to cross home plate to make it 7-4.
George Santiago started the sixth inning off with a double to right field. A balk allowed him to take third. A wild pitch allowed Santiago to score to make it 7-6.
“I believe after the sixth inning, the long innings started to get to the kids and it showed at the plate,” Ramos said. “I think the first three innings took a hour and 30 because our pitcher couldn’t throw the ball over the plate. We tied the game in the first inning, then they got the lead in the second inning and we tied the game. We kept getting behind because of walks. The first five runs they scored they didn’t have a base hit. It is frustrating and it has been like that the whole year. It is just frustrating.”
TC wouldn’t get any closer.
After only having two hits in the first six innings, Faulkner was able to get three hits for four runs in the seventh inning.
Sanchez hit a double to left center field to drive in Paula and Holguin to make it 9-6. Boudreaux hit a single to right field to score Sanchez and Oster to increase their lead to 11-6.
The Eagles scored four more runs in the final two innings to make it 15-6.
Ryan Smith earned the win for Faulkner. Marchan earned the loss for TC.