Mainland walked the bases loaded twice in a loss to Matanzas on Thursday, March 8.
Facing a 2-2 count with two outs, Mainland’s Kam Lee took to the plate with the Buccaneers down one run to Matanzas in the top of the seventh inning. The Pirates’ closing pitcher, Erik Libby, threw a fast ball at Lee, whose metal bat connected with the curving pitch.
He knew it was a ground ball the moment he made contact.
The ball toddled along the grass on the field at Matanzas High School before settling in the glove of Matanzas’ first basemen to record the game-winning out.
The Buccaneers — who defeated Matanzas 8-6 on Tuesday, March 6 — lost to the Pirates 8-6 on Thursday, March 8. And although the Buccaneers struggled to score in the closing innings, it was Mainland’s struggles on the mound that helped the Pirates to a comeback victory.
Mainland — which was without its ace, Chase Brinkerhoff, due to tendonitis in his throwing arm — led the Pirates 5-2 heading into the third inning. The Pirates’ two runs to that point came in the first inning after Lee, who, in addition to hitting, served as the Buccaneers’ starting hurler, walked the bases loaded. Lee walked the bases loaded once again in the fourth inning — his last side of the night.
He was replaced by reliever Hunter Good to start the fifth frame. Good opened his night throwing six straight balls. And in the sixth inning, Matanzas took its first lead of the game off a 2 RBI single that gave the Pirates an 8-6 lead.
“We’ve got to work on pitching,” Lee said. “We’ve got to throw strikes. We’ve got to be more fundamentally sound.”
Echoing his head coach Jay Michael Burton’s sentiments, Lee believes the Buccaneers are going to be fine. In addition to beating the Pirates in their first game, the Buccaneers have also knocked off Father Lopez.
Brinkerhoff is expected to make a return to the mound soon as well, giving Mainland’s pitching staff much-needed depth.
“We made a lot of bad plays tonight,” Lee said. “But it’s not anything we can’t fix.”