FARMINGTON — A walk-off, two-RBI double from Keaton Christy in the eighth inning helped the Flat Bill Ducks baseball team erase a late-game collapse against the Pumpjacks tonight in Connie Mack City League play.
Despite committing seven errors — five of which came in the final two innings — the Ducks managed an 8-7 comeback win at Ricketts Park.
"It wasn't pretty, but it sure was ugly," Ducks coach Brett Alexander said after the game.
Ahead 4-1 in the top of the seventh, errors led directly to the Ducks' breakdown. Spencer Heyden, Aztec High School's primary catcher, had a rough go of it at third base for the Ducks, especially in the seventh, where he committed two of his four errors in the game. The Pumpjacks took advantage, coming all the way back on a two-RBI triple off the bat of Coby Baer to knot the game at 4.
Alexander said he doesn't have much of a choice but to run Heyden out into the infield.
"When you've got nine dudes, and four of them play outfield, you've got to put somebody somewhere," Alexander said. "But he's fine. For him to come up in the bottom of the eighth and get us rolling, that shows he didn't take his mental mistakes from the field with him to the plate."
Aided by three more Flat Bill errors in the top of the eighth, the Pumpjacks appeared to bury the Ducks with three runs to make it 7-4. Coach Nick Clayton said he gave the Pumpjack players a little pep talk prior to their streak of six unanswered runs during the seventh and eighth innings.
"I just let them know that in our previous four or five games, we put up at least eight runs in each of those games, and we're a good offensive club," Clayton said. "I just told them to play with confidence."
But the Ducks weren't done.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Flat Bill got to 15-year-old Pumpjacks pitcher Jac Cordova. Heyden started the rally with a single, and Dillon Lemons followed with another. After striking out Brandon Archuleta, Cordova was unable to register one last out, instead walking two batters in a row before serving up the game-ending double to Christy.
On a 2-2 count, Christy, a right-handed hitter, went with a fastball that was on the outside of the plate, smacking it into the opposite field to plate a pair. He said he just wanted to get on base.
"I just thought, 'Base hit, base hit, help the team out with a run,'" Christy said. "I just stayed back and drove it the other way."
Though Cordova gave up four runs and took the loss for the Pumpjacks, his coach isn't worried about him. Clayton chalked up today's outing as a growing pain for the junior hurler.
"It wasn't a thing where he wasn't competing. He threw strikes," Clayton said. "I think he competed well. It's just one of those things where he's gonna learn things don't always go your way."
Christy was 2 for 3 in the game with a walk and three RBI for Flat Bill. Baer led the way for the Pumpjacks by going 3 for 5 with two triples and three runs scored.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.