LYNN HAVEN — In a game that was as unpredictable as it was uncharacteristic for both teams, Mosley’s 7-6 baseball win over Niceville Tuesday was reduced to one simple factor. True grit.
There wasn’t anything else left to attribute the Dolphins fighting back from a 5-0 deficit. Or a 6-5 Eagles’ lead when Tyler Kinard doubled in the top of the eighth inning and Tanner Zant brought him in with a two-out single.
Mosley had to offset all of that, but when Bowen McGuffin’s sharp single to right field scored Zach Rhodes with the winning run the Dolphins finally were able to overcome their biggest obstacle – themselves.
Mosley, 7-1, 4-1, committed eight errors in five innings behind starting pitcher Joey Hair. Neither could The Dolphins play small ball, three times failing to execute a bunt in the early innings.
The result was no runs against Niceville starter Nick Junger despite first and second with no outs in the first, third with no outs in the second, second and third with one out in the third and first and second with no outs in the fourth.
The Eagles, 3-2, 2-2, finally took advantage of Mosley’s inept defense by scoring four unearned runs in their fourth. Elliott Carey’s wind-blown double to deep center accounted for two of them and Logan Meadows plated a third with a sacrifice fly.
The telling statistic, however, was three Mosley errors in the inning. Another in the fifth enabled Ethan Shelton to score, Shelton having started a two-out rally with a double.
The beginning of the fifth was delayed 10 minutes when a squall blew through the area, and that might have allowed the Dolphins to regroup. They got back into the game with the long ball, Jordan Larry with a solo home run and Logan Quimuyog with a two-run shot that made it 5-3 in the bottom of the inning.
Niceville then returned Mosley’s hospitality when it made two errors as the Dolphins tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit. The Eagles wound up with three errors, and three Niceville pitchers combined to hit five batters to help Mosley recover.
Larry was plunked by Stephen Coelho to open Mosley’s eighth inning and it proved costly. Brady Bell, who had two hits and an RBI, sacrificed Larry to second and Zach Rhodes’ double to the gap in left-center tied the game.
Niceville gave Quimuyog an intentional walk, but McGuffin was just as productive. His game-winning single was his third hit, including a triple to open the Dolphins’ second.
Austin Bizzle, Mosley’s third pitcher, earned the win despite yielding Niceville’s eighth-inning run.
Each team stranded 10 baserunners, another sign of opportunities squandered in each dugout. Kinard, Zant and Spencer Rackley each had two hits for the Eagles. Larry and Bell added two hits apiece for the Dolphins.
Niceville scored a run in the top of the seventh to edge Mosley 1-0 in the junior varsity game.
- Niceville 000 410 01 – 6 8 3
- Mosley 000 032 02 – 7 10 8
- Junger, Dungan (6), Coehlo L (6) and Rackley; Hair, Rogers (6), Bizzle W (6) and Gladden.
- One out when winning run scored.
- LOB: Niceville 10, Mosley 10. E: Niceville 3 (Head, Zant, Meadows), Mosley 8 (Green 3, Rhodes 2, Causey 2, Bell). 2B: Carey, Shelton, Kinard, Rhodes. 3B: McGuffin. HR: Larry, Quimuyog. SAC: Green, Bell. SF: Meadows. SB: Carey, Larry. WP: Hair, Junger 2. DP: Niceville 2 (1-6-3, 4-3). HBP: Carey (by Hair), Larry, Bell (Junger), Deramo, Rhodes (by Dungan), Larry (by Coehlo).