GLENDALE - It's hard to rally after committing five errors. It's even harder to regain composure when three of those errors come in the same inning.
That's what happened to No. 10-seeded Salpointe Catholic on Saturday in its 9-5 loss to sixth-seeded Scottsdale Saguaro in the fourth round of the Division II baseball tournament. The loss dropped the Lancers into the elimination bracket.
With the game tied at five heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, senior Hunter Miller came in to pitch for the Lancers, relieving starter Jio Orozco. After Saguaro singled to start the inning, shortstop Ryan Eastman bobbled a potential double play ball and things started to snowball on the Lancers from there. Of the four runs Saguaro scored in the inning, three came from runners who had reached base on an error.
"With a team like that, if you keep giving them chances, you're not going to beat them," Salpointe coach Danny Preble said. "We gotta be mentally better in all phases of the game. We didn't make any adjustments at the plate today, and we didn't play a whole lot of defense behind our pitchers."
After Salpointe took a 2-0 lead in the first, the Sabercats jumped to a 4-2 lead by scoring two runs each in the second and third innings.
Salpointe countered with a three-run inning in the fourth, sparked by senior Forest Chapman's tying two-run homer over the left field fence. The Lancers took a 5-4 lead when Kevin Brice scored from first, narrowly beating the tag at home, on a pop-fly from Tyler Kimbrough that dropped in just inside the right field line.
Saguaro tied it in the fifth before its breakout sixth inning. Salpointe went down in order in the seventh, completing a game in which Eastman and Ryan Ramsower were the only Lancers with more than one hit.
In the elimination bracket, the Lancers will play Tuesday at Glendale's Camelback Ranch Stadium against top-seeded Peoria Sunrise Mountain, which edged No. 4 Douglas 3-2 in 9 innings on Saturday night.
One loss from elimination, the Lancers are hoping to rebound from Saturday's performance.
"We were in it for most of the game, but then we just collapsed and weren't able to hang on," Brice said. "We just have to stay calm and not get flustered when we make physical errors. Right now we're bummed, but I think we'll come out on Tuesday with a lot of fire."