They just couldn’t take advantage.
The Fierce committed two costly fielding errors, their bats couldn’t account for the damage, and, despite making a seventh-inning push, they had to settle for a 3-2 loss Tuesday at the East Cobb Baseball Complex.
The Fierce (0-5-1) are still seeking their first victory. They close play in Pool L today against the 6-4-3 DP Cougars 18s today at 9 a.m. at the Aviation Sports Complex.
In the end, Fierce coach Ray Baker said Tuesday’s game came down to hitting — and his team only had two successful hits.
Kabbes was the hard-luck loser after pitching the duration of the game. The 2011 graduate of East Paulding High School didn’t give up an earned run until the seventh inning and yielded just three hits while throwing 11 strikeouts.
“(Kabbes) was outstanding,” Baker said. “He mixed up his pitches and spotted his pitches perfectly. They had only one hard hit on him, and everything else was bloopers.”
Kabbes couldn’t atone for the errant defense behind him.
With two outs in the bottom of the first, Pedro Lopez doubled to keep the first inning alive for the Bandits, a team from Boynton Beach, Fla. Jose Crespo followed with a grounder to McEachern’s Adam Loewer at third base, but Loewer’s throw just missed the glove of first baseman Brett Black and Lopez came around to score.
In the fourth inning, Loewer was late fielding a grounder by Jason Reyes, who ended up stealing second, and Nick West brought him home with a single.
South Florida scored its final run in the sixth on Lopez’s sacrifice fly to right.
After the Bandits got on the board in the bottom of the first, the Fierce struck back in the top of the second when Justin Batcher hit a first-pitch home run that sailed over the wall in left field.
Batcher’s homer was the Fierce’s final hit of the game.
The Kennesaw-based team had a chance to break the game open in the sixth inning, when they loaded the bases on three straight errors with no outs.
After Patrick Donovan struck out looking for the first out, Baker gambled by sending Blake Mitchell home from third when Allatoona’s Kris Patel hit a fly to right field. Mitchell, however, was thrown down at the plate, and the Fierce came away with nothing.
“I gambled on the tag with the bases loaded, but I have to give them credit,” Baker said. “They made a nice throw.”
It wasn’t until the seventh inning when the Fierce scored again, thanks to Loewer’s aggressive baserunning. South Florida reliever Michael Raiher constantly checked first base after Loewer drew a one-out walk, but the McEachern player still managed to stealing second and third.
Those stolen bases paid off for Loewer, who came home on a wild pitch, but Raiher went on to record two strikeouts to end the game.
South Florida improved to 2-4 with the win, but likely won’t advance to the playoff bracket.