River Dragons Fall To Quincy Gems Despite Early Five-Run Lead
ALTON - The Alton River Dragons (22-21) lost to the Quincy Gems Monday night at Lloyd Hopkins Field by a score of 8-6. It came after leading 5-0 after the second inning and 6-2 after the fourth.
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"When you let teams hang around, hang around, hang around, this is what happens at the end of the night," River Dragons head coach Darrell Handelsman said postgame. "Unfortunately, that's the way baseball works."
Alton did jump out to that early lead when they exploded for a five-run second inning.
With runners on base, Kameron Laskowski laid down a bunt that scored Alton's first two runs. He reached second after a couple of infield errors on the play.
Laskowski eventually made his way to third after another sacrifice bunt. Blake Burris hit an RBI single scoring Laskowski to make it 3-0. With Burris at first Eddie King came up to the plate and smacked a two-run home run to give the River Dragons a 5-0 lead. It was King's 13th home run of the season.
The Gems came right back in the top of the third to score a couple of runs of their own though. The Gems had the bases loaded with only one out. They managed to cut the lead down a bit after a sacrifice fly and only trailed 5-2 at that point.
In the bottom of the fourth Alton scored what would be their final run. Burris kicked things off with a leadoff triple making him the only River Dragon with two or more hits on the night. King got on base after being walked and immediately stole second base. After a wild throw to the bag to try and get out King, Burris scored easily from third to make it 6-2.
The next three innings were scoreless and then the Gems did the unthinkable.
Noah Bush was on the mound for the River Dragons and he found himself in a situation with the bases loaded and only one out. One swing of the bat could tie the game.
Well, Drew Townsend stepped up to the batter's box and sent one over the fence in right field to do exactly that and tied the game at 6-6. He finished with four RBIs and two hits on the night.
That wasn't all though. In the top of the ninth Quincy took the outright lead. The gems once again had the bases loaded, this time with no outs. After a wild pitch and a fielder's choice, two runs would score and the Gems would go on to win it 8-6.
Erik Broekemeier started on the mound for Alton and threw the first four innings. He was followed by Carson Richardson, Bush (who was given the loss, 0-2), and Mike Hampton. They combined to allow seven hits and picked up five strikeouts.
The River Dragons will be back at home Wednesday, July 20 when they take on the O'Fallon Hoots at 6:35 p.m. The Hoots have lost their last two and are currently in the middle of a six-game road trip.
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