For the second time in as many nights, the Paducah Chiefs took games into extra innings, but this time came out on the short end.
The Chiefs just would not quit Sunday night in a pivotal game against the Hoptown Hoppers coming from behind to tie the game in the ninth and 10th innings before stretching it to the 13th in an 8-6 loss.
Down 5-4 and looking for a Chiefs bottom of the ninth miracle, Brandon Kelly led off with a smash to third mishandled for a two-base error plus another base on a passed ball. John Mitchum walked and Nick Shumaker singled in Kelly to tie the game at 5. The Chiefs got two walks to load the bags with two out but failed to get the winning run across.
In the top of the 10th, Hopper Blake Jackson singled to left and reached third on successive ground outs, scoring the go-ahead run on John Keane's single.
In the bottom half and two outs for the Chiefs, Brandon Kelly beat out an infield hit. Kelly stole second with the throw going into center field, took third with another wild throw into the dugout, and scored getting the 6-6 tie.
Neither team could get anything going in the 11th and 12th innings. But in the top of the 13th, Hoptown started with a lead-off single. After two ground outs and a hit batter put runners on second and third, Blake Jackson hit a grounder up the middle that bounced over Chiefs pitcher Logan Bowman's head into center field scoring two runs to give the Hoppers the 8-6 lead. Paducah went down in order in the home half.
"We had every opportunity to win this game," Chiefs coach Joe Hall said. "We fought back. That's the frustrating part of it. The little things have to happen. That's what I'm trying to get across to these guys - moving runners over, getting runners in from third base. Everyone wants to hit the home run and do all the big stuff."
The Chiefs drew first blood in its first at-bat with a long single by Reid Pope driving in Shumaker, who had reached on a fielders choice.
Mason Vinyard, starter on the bump for the Chiefs, was perfect through the first two innings before a walk and two singles loaded the bags and the Hoppers took a 2-0 lead on a sacrifice fly to left followed by a single from Aidan Elias.
The Chiefs fought back in the fifth. Keyaunte Jones led off with a line-shot single to center, and Peyton Sockwell drew a walk. The Chiefs went small-ball as Kelly bunted the runners to second and third and Jones scored the tying run on Pierce Mitchum's sac-fly.
But that was all for Vinyard, replaced on the mound by Matthew Jacome. Vinyard threw 85 pitches in five innings giving up two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
With one out, Jacome gave up a double to right and the Hoppers took back the lead with a single up the middle.
In Hoptown's half of the seventh, Cole Cummings laid down a perfect bunt single with one out and scored on a double down the left field line by Elias, who then scored on a long sac-fly to center giving the Hoppers a 5-2 edge.
The Chiefs mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh after a lead-off single by Jones and a walk to Sockwell. After a fielder's choice moved the runners up, Jones scored on a passed ball and Kelly scored on a ground out. The Hoppers brought in Christian Edwards and the 90-plus mile per hour stuff ended the rally short at 5-4.
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Hoptown 002 001 200 100 2 -- 8 15 6
Paducah 100 010 201 100 0 -- 6 9 0
WP: Rookard. LP: Bowman.
2B: H-Elias, Hartness, Johnson. 3B: none. HR: none. Top hitters: H-Cummings 3-7, Elias 3-6 (2 RBI), J.Keane 2-5 (RBI), Jackson 2-6 (3 RBI); P-Shumaker 2-6 (RBI), Pope 2-6 (RBI), Jones 3-6. Records: Hoptown 8-1, Paducah 6-3.