During Monday’s baseball game with visiting Raytown, a Fort Osage fan yelled out “Focus!” from the stands.
Indians coach Chris Walker probably had the same thought.
Fort Osage made six errors and walked or plunked nine Raytown batters during a 5-3 loss in which none of the Blue Jays' runs were earned.
“Obviously, our mind wasn’t in the game,” Walker said. “We made several mental mistakes, not to mention our physical mistakes. Basically, we just have to do better. We have to play better all the way around.”
The Indians’ mistakes came to a head in the fifth inning. With the game tied at 2, Raytown scored three runs without hitting the ball out of the infield. The Blue Jays used two walks, a hit batter, a double steal and took advantage of two Fort Osage errors to take control of the game.
“We have to do the basic things better,” said Indians starting pitcher Cody Oliphant, who struck out five in four innings. “We didn’t come out prepared to play.”
Raytown (7-4) stole eight bases and its only two hits of the game came in timely situations, driving in runs.
“We knew going in Raytown could run,” Walker said. “That’s a strength of their game. We let too many guys get on base and didn’t do our job taking care of the ball.”
The Blue Jays first hit came in the opening frame following two Indians errors. Devin Sudduth singled to left to score Montel Jones.
Fort Osage (5-9) tied the game in the second when Zane Barr singled, eventually reached third, and scored on a wild pitch.
Raytown’s speed affected the game for the first time in the third. Jones reached on an error, stole second, then scored on DeAndre Parker’s single.
“We have a lot of speed that we don’t slow down,” Raytown coach Blaine Lewis said.
Caleb Jonas’ run-scoring double down the right-field line tied the game at 2 in the fourth for the Indians.
Anthony Moore scattered eight hits through five innings and picked up the win for Raytown. Fort Osage pushed across another run in the fifth when Blake Mullendore singled and eventually stole home, but the Indians left two runners stranded in the frame.
Luqman Ali closed out the final two innings for the Blue Jays.
“Anthony didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled, and he’s an incredibly smart pitcher,” Lewis said. “He got in a jam in the fifth, but was able to settle down and get out of the frame. Then Ali came in in the sixth and did really well for us. Our objective today on the mound was to get ahead at all costs and we made sure we did that.”
Mullendore finished 3-for-4 and Joey Rosser, Barr and Jonas all finished with two hits for the Indians.
Conner Jonas fanned four of the six Blue Jays he faced in closing out the sixth and seventh innings for Fort Osage.
“Our pitchers threw all right,” Walker said. “We walked too many guys. But any time your defense lets you down like that, it’s pretty common where your pitcher starts overdoing it and you put more guys on than you probably should have. We just have to clean it up all the way around.”