FAIRFIELD — After 37 hits and 35 runs packed into a tidy 4 hours and 8 minutes of regulation baseball, there was a winner.
On a cold and windy night at Allan Witt Park, the Fairfield Indians scored at least one run in every inning except the eighth, but that was not nearly enough as they fell 20-15 to the Bay Area Tide, Wednesday.
After giving up a lead-off double, the Indians were able to get out of the top of the first, scoring two runs of their own in the home-half of the inning. Mark Mills brought in Lamar Smith on a single to left and Dareion Evans hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to score Chris McCollister.
The next three innings were trouble for the Indians, however, as they allowed three runs in the second, eight in the third and four in the fourth.
Manager Norm Thompson said it was a loss of concentration that contributed to the big innings.
“We made a couple of mistakes,” he said. “Some of our pitchers weren’t getting the ball over the plate like they wanted to.”
The Tide delivered 15 hits in those three innings, two players were hit by pitches and one walked.
The Indians were able to slow the bleeding in the seventh, only allowing one run, but gave up four in the eighth. Even down 11-3 after 2 1/2 innings, the home team kept fighting, scoring four runs of its own in the bottom of the third.
Mills was the first to score as he was came in on a bases-loaded walk to Damian Marshall Jr. with two outs. Jason Paukei then hit a double that brought in Tyler Hall, Evans and Marshall. Paukei pushed his luck trying to stretch for a third bag but was tagged out at third to end the rally.
The inconsistent pitching bug blew over to the Tide dugout as the Indians walked 13 times beginning in the fourth inning, ending the night with 16 free passes, five of which turned into runs.
Bryce Hutchins walked in the fourth and scored on a sacrifice fly by McCollister, while Marshall walked in the fifth and scored on a wild pitch. Mills walked in the sixth and seventh and scored both times and Aaron Cherry scored in the seventh after a walk.
The Indians had 14 hits, but only two were for extra bases, compared to eight of the Tide’s 23 hits.
Mills was on base five times with three hits and two walks, scoring four times. Hutchins was 3 for 5 with two walks and four steals, while Smith was 1 for 3 with three walks.
Thompson didn’t blame the weather for the game’s result, saying that baseball is played in all kinds of conditions. He also added the contest was not pretty and that it was like a football game, but was still proud of his players.
“Even though we fell behind, we still battled,” Thompson said. “I’m proud of how they kept fighting back.”