The runs came fast and furious Wednesday night in New Braunfels.
But some stellar defensive plays got the Seguin Little League 9-year-old Specials back in the game.
In a game that didn’t end until 11 p.m., the Specials fought back from an early 8-3 deficit, only to come up just short, and fall to Floresville, 13-11.
It was the first loss ever in Specials play for head coach Korey Kirchner’s team, which went undefeated last season in the 8-year-old bracket.
“We were right there guys,” Kirchner told his team, many of whom were upset after the loss. “”They went up and we got back, they went up again and we got back again. We were always fighting, so keep your heads up.
“In the game of baseball you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some, it’s how you’re going to come back and react.”
Kirchner noted that his club was experiencing an emotion they hadn’t felt before in taking the loss.
“They were dealing with some new emotions for sure,” Kirchner said. “I want to see how they react tomorrow — I think they’ll come back and win — they’re a good ball team.”
Kirchner’s club had beaten New Braunfels Blue, 13-2, and got a forfeit over Cuero to enter the district game undefeated at 2-0.
Seguin held Floresville to just five runs in the last two innings, making some great throws to get runners out at third and at home in the third and fourth innings.
Left fielder Nathaniel Herrera fielded a ball cleanly in the third, and threw a strike to third to get the lead runner. Shortstop Eli Baker took a throw in the cutoff, and threw a bullet to home plate for the out to prevent another run from scoring.
“We made some really good defensive plays,” Kirchner said. “The kids hung around and made some plays that kept us in the game.
I thought our guys played some really good defense. We did throw it around a little bit and had some errors, but you have to come back from those errors.”
Seguin outscored Floresville 8-5 after the early five-run deficit, but lacked a couple of hits with runners in scoring position in the late innings to get the win.
“Floresville got some key hits when they had to, and we didn’t get the key hits when we needed to with runners on base,” Kirchner said.
Jackson Kirchner, the coach’s son, showed some amazing toughness in the third inning after taking a baseball in the mouth — and losing a tooth in the process.
The coach and his assistants, Thomas Hoblin and Greg Baker, rushed to home plate when Jackson went down.
After searching for and finding the tooth, and giving Jackson a little time to compose himself, Kirchner asked his son if he wanted to go back in to complete the at bat.
“I’m going to get a hit,” Jackson said to his dad.
He promptly stepped back into the batter’s box — and lined a single to left field.
“It scared me when he got hit,” Kirchner said of the play, noting his dad instinct kicked in as he rushed to his son’s aid.
“It shows a lot of courage and determination, and shows how much he loves this game — he wasn’t going to let that stop him.
“I told him to go back up there and get a hit, and he told me, ‘I am.’”
Jackson led Seguin with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, while scoring a run and driving in one.
Baker, Asher Weaver, Brody Vecera and Olin Bustamante all had a hit apiece, with Weaver and Baker scoring a run, and Vecera and Bustamante driving in a run each.
Bustamante came on in relief on the mound, and held Floresville to five runs in three innings pitched.
“He did a really good job and kept us in the ballgame,” Kirchner said.
Bustamante was aided by the two great defensive plays in the third and fourth innings.
“I was really proud of them,” Kirchner said. “We fielded a ball, hit the cutoff, and the cutoff man threw it home. They did their job, and I’m happy for them. That’s what I teach them — and that’s baseball right there.”
The loss put the Seguin Specials into an elimination bracket game last night against New Braunfels Red, with the winner going back to face Floresville again today. The results were not available by press time.
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.