Certain summer days are so humid and so hot, time itself seems to get lodged within the breathable blanket of moisture. A second becomes a minute, a walk to the pitchers’ mound becomes a hike, and a 11-4 drubbing by Biloxi morphed into prolonged suffering. The Shuckers slapped out 16 torturous hits over almost three hours of gametime.
Francisco Urbaez got the first knock against righthander Justin Bullock with a double that bounced off the centerfield wall, and then Michael De Leon snapped a single into right field to put runners on the corners with no outs.
TJ Hopkins walked a couple minutes later, and the Lookouts now had the bases loaded with only one out.
After another out, the Shuckers had an opportunity to get out of the inning on a James Free popup. But Gabe Holt's drifting attempt at catching the popup had him fly just a tad bit out of his normal outpost, and the ball bounced off his glove. The Lookouts wasted their second shot on the very next pitch though, with Bullock fanning the hitter and lowering his ERA to a sub-9 7.71.
Right hander Carson Spiers ran into some issues of his own in the top of the second. He got two quick flyouts to start the inning, but then gave up a single to Felix Valerio and then another Single to Cam Devanney. Holt put the Shuckers on the board with a hard-hit double into left that scored one. Spiers finally got that elusive third out when he struck Noah Campbell out on five tosses.
The top of the third saw Spiers surrender another run, this time courtesy of Jackson Reetz’s bat. He sent the ball far above the left field wall, and happily rounded the bases for his 13th home run of the season. Spiers got through one scoreless inning before he was once again pounded in the bottom of the fifth.
Campbell started the inning with a hard-hit single into center, and then the athletic Sal Frelick continued with a single of his own. Thomas Dillard put another three runs on the board with a blast to center field. In case that inning wasn’t enough to convince the Lookouts to take Spiers out, Devanney certainly made another convincing case in the top of the sixth.
He flipped his bat while the ball was in mid-air, sure as sure could be that the ball was leaving the ballpark. His faith was not misplaced, because the ball did leave the field of play as the Shuckers now led 6-1. The Lookouts had added one run on a Francisco Urbaez home run in the bottom of the fifth.
James Free’s single into right drove in a Lookout baserunner to slash the Shucker’s lead to a more manageable 7-2 score. Relief pitcher Andy Fisher was erratic to say the very least, and the Lookouts pitcher put on a pair of baserunners before his wild pitch got another Shucker across the plate in the top of the seventh. Another hit by Gabe Holt drove in a teammate, and the route was officially back on.
Spencer Stockton took Fisher’s place and was asked to get out of a bases loaded and no out jam. How’d he do? Well, he exited the inning with only one more run surrendered on a sac fly, so the Lookouts fans in attendance on the brutally hot evening could do nothing but applaud.
TJ Hopkins drew a few more cheers when he obliterated a high fastball and bopped it over the left field wall for a two-run homer. The Shuckers put on one more run in the top of the ninth.
SHUCKERS 011 032 301 – 11 16 0
LOOKOUTS 000 011 020 – 4 8 1
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