The word for the day was “cold.”
When an early spring norther blows through town, there's no colder place to watch baseball than Steer Park, and such was the case Tuesday. Temperatures in the 40s — and wind chills even lower than that — had fans scurrying for coats, blankets and hot chocolate.
For the young Big Spring Steers, however, the temperatures seemed to be invigorating, at least for most of the game. The Steers stood toe-to-toe with Abilene Wylie through four innings, before defensive mistakes and timely Wylie hits paved the way for the Bulldogs to take a 6-1 victory in District 5-3A baseball action Tuesday evening.
Big Spring Coach Burt Otto said it was a case of a young team struggling to get its bearings.
“I thought they were very competitive tonight,” Otto said. “But when you have a young squad, mistakes are just part of the maturing process. We had two errors lead to three runs tonight (but) we'll make those plays in the future.”
For the present, however, it's apparent that the Steers are looking up at most of their district brethren. Wylie, for example, relied on Spencer's Labrie's pitching and spotless defense to keep the Bulldogs in the game before their bats finally warmed up in the fifth inning.
Labrie scattered seven hits and struck out seven in six innings of work to pick up the victory. Big Spring starter Max Pappajohn was charged with all six Wylie runs in taking the loss for the Steers.
Big Spring spotted the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead before knotting things in the second inning on a RBI single by Jake Rhoton.
The game remained tied until the fifth, when Wylie struck for three runs, two of them unearned. Garrett Martin led off the frame with a triple, Lance Lindley walked and both runners came home on a one-out double by Colin Harris. Harris eventually scored when Big Spring first baseman Gunnar Kennedy misplayed a throw from third.
Big Spring was unable to respond, despite scoring chances in the fifth and sixth innings.
“I thought (the Steers) hit the ball well tonight; they just didn't fall in,” Otto said. “And Wylie took advantage of its opportunities. They broke it open a little bit, and we weren't able to respond.”
The Steers return to action Friday when they travel to Andrews for a 7 p.m. game.
Wylie 010 032 0 — 6 7 1
Big Spring 010 000 0 — 1 7 2
WP — Labrie; LP — Pappajohn.