Any coach will say it is a tough way for a team to lose a game, but a win is a win.
Keota got a run in the bottom of the seventh inning from a balk to get a 5-4 victory over South Iowa Cedar League opponent Belle Plaine, which has a 9-3 record.
It was set up by a single from Carson Sprouse, who went to second base on a passed ball and stole third. An intentional walk was issued to Austin Waterhouse. With Colton Clarahan at bat, Waterhouse broke for second base, causing the pitcher to balk.
Coaching makes a big difference in sports and Keota coach Dakota McCombs called for the steal of third, while the BP coach walked Waterhouse, who is batting .342 to face Clarahan, who is batting .514.
“The pitcher wasn’t looking at all, so I called for the steal and they intentionally walked a guy that’s batting .300 for a guy that’s batting over .500,” McCombs said. “That one made me scratch my head a little bit.”
Keota had a 4-1 lead behind starting pitcher Clarahan, but he reached his pitch limit with two outs in the fifth inning. He walked two and fanned five.
The game may have been saved when Justin Moeller made a two-out catch to end the sixth inning.
“I saw that ball coming and I know I had to get to it so I was just running as fast as I can and went for it,” Moeller said. “This was a great win for us. I have a lot of confidence in my teammates. Any of us can do what’s needed at any time.”
The visitors scored three runs with no outs in the top of the seventh to tie it at 4-4, but Carson Sprouse came in and got a fly out, then two strikeouts.
“I wasn’t worried because I knew we had the top of our lineup up to bat,” McCombs said. “I know we could score. It’s nice when things work out. We needed this win. That should get us back on track, especially against a team that is that talented.”
After starting the season 8-1, the Eagles had lost their last two.
Now 9-3, the Eagles play Wedesday at English Valleys.