Five passed balls helps Dixon defeat Crocker on Wednesday 10-3

DIXON — Mental mistakes will crumble a team in baseball.

On Wednesday Crocker(3-3, 0-1 in Frisco League) gave up five runs to the Dixon Bulldogs (3-2, 1-0) on passed balls and lost 10-3 in Dixon.

Crocker coach Chris Long said without those his team would've had a fighting chance of coming back in the game.

“You take them away it's a 5-3 game and the whole dynamic of what you do changes,” Long said.

Before those passed balls it was an evenly fought game.

In the top of the second junior Austin Minor started a rally for Crocker to try to get back two runs Dixon nabbed in the first.

Minor swatted a pitch into center to pick up an RBI.

Then sophomore Mason Boorom smoked another pitch into center to score two and take the 3-2 lead for Crocker.

Ty Helms, Crocker's sophomore pitcher, then sent three Bulldogs back to the bench after ringing them all up in the bottom of the second.

Sophomore Andrew Meier also posted a zero in his frame of work for Dixon.

The Bulldogs went back to work with their bats in the bottom of the third.

After singling to open the half-inning, senior Chase Kloeppel promptly stole second and third on the Lions. Meier walked, then stole second. Kloeppel then scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 3.

After walking two more Dixon batters, Helms then struck out a Bulldog, getting out of a bases loaded jam.

In the top of the fourth, it was nothing doing for Crocker.

Kloeppel added to the Dixon lead in the bottom frame with an RBI double to left.

The senior outfielder said he was seeing the ball with ease Wednesday night.

“He wasn't throwing the hardest that we've seen this year, but we still have to keep our weight back and try to drive the ball forward,” Kloeppel said.

Dixon coach Alex Shelton said he more than accomplished that mission.

“Chase did a nice job for us,” Shelton said. “He had four hits, a perfect [4-4] night at the plate. A couple of times he had two strikes and still put a good swing on the ball.”

Another passed ball scored junior Hunter Barnett to quickly make it 5-3 for the Bulldogs. Meier hit a sacrifice fly to give them a three-run lead going into the fifth, in which both teams put goose eggs on the board.

Meier then gave up just one hit in the top of the sixth. That would be the last frame for the sophomore.

Long said he thinks the young pitcher is getting better, and he would know.

“We've seen him a lot,” Long said. “It seems like he's throwing a little harder this year.

“The first inning we swung at some bad pitches, but after that I thought we hit him pretty decent. We hit some ground balls right at people and some fly balls right at people and they made plays. [Dixon] was able to find gaps and I thought that was the big difference in the ball game.”

The Bulldogs padded their lead in the bottom of the sixth, starting with Kloeppel smacking another RBI double up the middle. Meier drove in another run with a single, and Kloeppel trotted home on a passed ball to make the game 9-3.

McCoy singled to center to bring home the final run.

Dixon junior Cole Emmons came in to close out the final inning and preserve the lead.

Crocker will try to break their conference record even when the Lions will host Tuscumbia at home on Friday.

Dixon will head into tournament play this weekend at the Osage Wood Bat Tournament.

Shelton said he wouldn't mind seeing a couple more free runs courtesy passed balls there.

“Hey, we take them any way we can get them,” Shelton said. “We don't complain how we get them on the board.”