It was one of those games where both teams played sloppily even though one came out on top, and the other came out on bottom.
So it was for the Manning-Santee Post 68 American Legion baseball team as they fell to the Sumter P-15s 9-8 last Thursday night.
In a game marked by errors, lead changes and controversial plays, Manning-Santee was in it all the way to the end but did not have enough gas in the tank.
Trailing 8-7 in the top of the ninth, Jamal Keels and Heath Smith both struck out, leaving the comeback hopes to Corey Brown.
Brown stepped to the plate and hit a fly-out to Sumter’s Cam Martin to end the game giving them the victory.
“It’s tough to win in Sumter,” said Head Coach G.G. Cutter. “I thought we battled pretty good. It’s just one of those games we’re going to have to put behind us and move on.”
Manning-Santee got on the scoreboard quickly and held a 1-0 lead until the fourth inning.
Mike Keels led off and he crushed the opening pitch into deep left field for a double.
He moved to second on a fielder’s choice, following a Jack Martin hit and later scored for the 1-0 advantage.
Smith was walked and was primed to score, but Brown grounded for the third out.
The Manning defense stepped up and eliminated the first two batters but struggled when Zach Sherrill came up.
Sherrill got to first on a fielder’s choice and ultimately made his way to third on a steal and passed ball.
Tyler A. Smith came to bat but struck out swinging and stranded Sherrill’s scoring threat to end the inning.
Sumter dented the scoreboard in the fourth.
Sherrill led off the bottom of the fourth and sent the 0-1 pitch flying to center for a single.
Manning got two quick outs but that was just incentive for the P-15s.
Facing the two outs, Andreu Reardon hit the 3-2 pitch to deep center for an RBI double scoring Sherrill that knotted the score at 1-1.
Trent Pannell came up and hit a shot to left center for a double scoring Reardon that gave the P-15s a 2-1 lead.
Pannell and Callahan Kirkhart each scored later in the inning and held a 4-1 lead after four.
In the top of the sixth inning, a host of errors from Sumter allowed Manning-Santee to score four runs and retake the lead.
Jamal Keels, Smith, Brown and Chris Kellahan all reached base or scored on errors that essentially gave them a 5-4 lead after six.
Sumter scored three more in the bottom of the inning to take the lead again at 7-5.
Tied at 8-8, in the game’s most controversial play, Sumter’s J. Tyler Smith hit into deep center field where it appeared Jamal Keels made a diving catch for the out.
However, it was ruled a no catch by the home-plate umpire and Smith was awarded an in-the-park home run for the go ahead score.
“It was a catch; the umpire blew the call,” Cutter said. “Jamal made a great play on it and he came in there and he was devastated because he caught the ball.”
Manning fell to 6-5 overall and their next game will be tomorrow at home when they face Cheraw at 7:30 p.m.