Infield fly rule call leads to unusual double play in 13-9 loss
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
When it’s brisk at Bob Copeland Field for a Rochester home baseball game, that can only mean one thing: The wind is blowing out.
Connor Mann hit two homers and drove in five runs, and Braden Denny and Will Eldridge also homered for No. 10 Carroll (Flora) in a 13-9 win over the sectional rival Zebras Friday.
While Carroll hit those four homers, Rochester didn’t homer at all. Even worse, Rochester appeared to be on the wrong end of an erroneous infield fly rule call in which Carroll achieved an unusual and dubious double play in the third inning.
Carroll trailed 7-6 going into the sixth when they scored three times to take the lead for good. Tanner Turnpaugh walked against Evan Elliott, and Jake Skinner doubled him to third. One out later, Mann, Carroll’s No. 9 hitter, launched his second homer of the game, a three-run shot that gave the Cougars a 9-7 lead.
Carroll scored four more in the seventh to make it 13-7 on a two-run single by Turnpaugh, a dropped third strike in which Eldridge scored from third when the out was completed and an Owen Duff RBI infield single.
When asked about Carroll’s homers, Rochester coach Cory Good noted both the wind’s impact and how the field conditions will differ if a rematch occurs at Wabash in the Class 2A sectional from May 26-31. Wabash is known for its cavernous dimensions that make it difficult to hit a homer.
“I think one was hit well, and the other three were probably fly balls on most days, especially when we’re at Wabash,” Good said. “I mean, you know what that field’s like. … It is what it is. They got the ball up today. The wind’s never blowing out here. You know how it goes. We didn’t do anything too bad.”
Grant McCarter’s RBI fielder’s choice grounder and Kane Lutz’s RBI double in the bottom of the seventh completed the scoring.
Denny allowed two runs in three innings of relief for the win. He came in with eight walks allowed in three innings of work on the season, but he walked no one this time.
Lutz and Jake Seuferer had two hits and an RBI each. McCarter had a hit and two RBIs. Brock Beehler also had a hit and an RBI.
Rochester scored four runs in the bottom of the third to take a 5-1 lead, but it ended with the infield fly rule call. Beehler had an RBI walk against Skinner, and McCarter’s sacrifice fly was dropped in center for an error that scored Elliott to make it 3-1. Seuferer’s RBI single to left made it 4-1.
That brought Quin Stesiak up with the bases loaded and one out. Stesiak lofted a fly to very shallow right. Mann, the second baseman, drifted into shallow right field. Eli Harshbarger, the right fielder came in and appeared to call off Mann.
The ball dropped, but Harshbarger threw to second for an apparent force out on Seuferer. The base umpire signaled that Seuferer was out.
Meanwhile, Beehler crossed home plate.
The umpires consulted. The home plate umpire said he had signaled for the infield fly rule, which meant that Stesiak was out and the runners could advance on their own risk.
The base umpire wasn’t aware of the home plate umpire’s ruling. He thought a force out was available to Carroll when the ball dropped.
Seuferer, after seeing that the base umpire signaled him out, jogged off the field. He was declared out for giving himself up, but since that happened after Beehler scored, Beehler’s run counted.
It was 5-1, but instead of Tarick McGlothin batting with two men in scoring position, the inning was over.
“The home plate umpire said that he lost the ball,” Good said. “He was looking for the second baseman. He saw where the second baseman was at, and he called infield fly on that one. I don’t believe the field umpire knew there was an infield fly called. And then there should have been a tag play at second base, but the (base) umpire didn't know it was an infield fly, hence the force out call.
“That could’ve been a really big inning that kinda killed us there, but it is what it is. … I appreciate when an umpire says, ‘Coach, this is what I did. I was wrong.’ That’s all I want to hear. I don’t want to hear an excuse.”
Wade Peters singled, and Denny hit a two-run homer to start the fourth and make it 5-3. Turnpaugh’s RBI grounder to second, and Mann’s two-run homer gave Carroll a 6-5 lead.
Rochester came back to take a 7-6 lead in the bottom half when McGlothin scored on a passed ball and Ethan Medina scored when Beehler reached on an error.
“I thought most of our at-bats were pretty good today,” Good said. “I felt like we need to be more aggressive looking for our pitch when we are ahead in the count.”
Carroll (Flora) 13, Rochester 9
Carroll 010 503 4 – 13
Rochester 014 200 2 – 9
WP – Braden Denny (3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER 0 BB, 2 K)
LP – Evan Elliott (2+ IP, 3 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)
2B – Jake Skinner (CARR), Wade Peters (CARR), Kane Lutz (RHS)
HR – Connor Mann 2 (CARR), Will Eldridge (CARR), Braden Denny (CARR)
Rochester junior pitcher Evan Elliott lunges back to catch a foul pop during the Zebras’ 13-9 loss to Class 2A, No. 10 Carroll (Flora) at Bob Copeland Field Friday. That’s third baseman Brock Beehler in the background. (photo provided by Paula Beehler)
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