By Mike Albanese, TSB Staff
The Frozen Ropes U16 baseball club was ousted from the Mickey Mantle World Series on Saturday afternoon, surrendering a 5-1 lead and falling to the Ontario Blue Jays 13-5 in six innings at Al Alford Field.
The McKinney-based team’s downfall Saturday was a nightmarish top of the sixth. Ontario sent 12 batters to the plate in the frame, scored six runs and witnessed the Frozen Ropes commit three errors, sealing the win.
Frozen Ropes coach Ryan Prock said starting pitcher Cameron Hobegood ran out of gas during the sixth, and while relief pitcher Michael Fussell was able to come in and induce some ground balls, his squad couldn’t capitalize and made three errors in the inning.
“Michael came in, and he wasn’t really sharp, and we just didn’t make any plays behind him,” Prock said. “[Fussell] got a couple of ground balls we should have made a play on…we just ran out of gas — its been a long summer.”
Hobegood lasted five innings, striking out five, walking four, while allowing a solo home run and giving up five earned runs. Fussell came into relieve Hobegood after a leadoff walk in the sixth, giving up six runs – but only two of which counted as earned runs.
Although the results did not go in their favor, the Frozen Ropes came out of the gates swinging Saturday, getting up on the Blue Jays 5-1 in the second inning.
The hard-hitting Blue Jays would respond quickly, putting up three runs in the top of the third.
The Blue Jays were also able to calm the Frozen Ropes’ bats in the middle innings with relief pitcher R.J. Freure, who was dominant in his three innings on the mound – allowing no hits and striking out five batters.
Once Freure silenced the Frozen Ropes’ bats, the Blue Jays went to work at the plate, sending six runs across in the frame.
The Frozen Ropes began the Mickey Mantle World Series with a 5-1 victory over the Arizona Dodgers Wednesday, but after a bye on Thursday, they lost to the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal 11-0 Friday prior to Saturday’s Ontario matchup.
Prock said he had mixed emotions following his team’s dismissal from the tournament, saying although frustrated at the way his club performed the past two games, he was proud of how the his team came out with “guns blazing,” winning both the State and South Plains Regional Tournaments.
He noted, however, perhaps his team got hot at the wrong time.
“We just went down at the wrong time when we were hoping to be going up,” Prock said. “I think we peaked at the Regional and State Tournament and it was hard to carry that momentum all the way through another week.”