May 27, 2013

By Mason Nesbitt, TMC Sports Information Intern

LEWISTON, IDAHO--For the first time this season we don't have a loss to spare. We haven't lost a game since double-elimination play started four weeks ago in the GSAC tournament, so our season has never really been in danger.

For seven innings on Monday, we didn't look like the Mustangs. We beat ourselves.

We didn't make the plays we've made all season and that coupled with base running mistakes and missed opportunities at the plate, did us in.

Then in the eighth, with the game seemingly out of reach, everything changed. Guys put together great at-bats, balls found the gaps and in the ninth we were right there--but just a little short, 7-6.

And the sharp groundout to first that ended the game, would've gone down the line if the first baseman hadn't been holding Sam Robison on. So close.

But you've got to credit these guys for sticking with it. Trailing 7-0 in the seventh they could've folded, but didn't. Guys were still standing, pulling for their teammates to come through--and they almost did.

And you've got to credit Tyler Elrod--who hasn't pitched in almost four weeks-- for battling out of tough situations and keeping us within striking distance. It could've easily been 12-1 by the seventh and there's no coming back from that.

But against the number one ranked team in the nation you can't miss opportunities. And we did.

When you lose by one run, it's easy to second guess everything. If, and's, but's, and maybe's are everywhere. Bottom line is we didn't play our game.

But we're not done.

Tuesday, with our season on the line, we'll be playing Lewis-Clark State in front of 4,000 of their fans.

But we won't be fan-less.

Over half the team's parents are in town. And I'll tell you, they're great. I mean I really contribute nothing to this team other than some cheers and butt slaps as guys come back to the dugout.

But not only have the players treated me like a teammate, the parents have embraced me too--as I write this I'm out to eat with one of the families.

Whether it's a post game hug from the ever lovable Mrs. Kister, the mom of our closer Tommy Kister--he definitely didn't get his bulldog ninth inning mentality from that sweet woman--or sharing lunch with utility-man Spencer Toth's parents at Tomato Brothers Restaurant--the parents have made it a special experience.

Even before this trip the parents stick out when thinking about the season. They showed up from all over California and the U.S. to home games. And made the trip to Concordia or Westmont or San Diego. They were always quick to make conversation or send an encouraging word towards the press box.

Heck, parents who don't have kids on the team anymore regularly came to games.

And it’s not only been parental support. About 60 faculty and staff members filled TMC's student center Friday to watch our game; and I'm told they'll be there tomorrow as we fight to stay in the World Series.

Don't count us out yet.