Kinkead walks it off for Belle Tiger fall baseball

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 9/3/20

A win is a win.

That is one way to describe Belle Tiger fall baseball’s season opener Friday against Richland at Belle City Park.

Seeing a 6-1 lead disappear in the top of the seventh …

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Kinkead walks it off for Belle Tiger fall baseball

Posted

A win is a win.

That is one way to describe Belle Tiger fall baseball’s season opener Friday against Richland at Belle City Park.

Seeing a 6-1 lead disappear in the top of the seventh inning, Belle was pushed to extra innings by the visiting Bears.

After turning Richland away in the top of the eighth inning, the host Tigers came to bat in the bottom of the eighth looking for a win in their season opener.

Freshman catcher Carter Kinkead needed just three pitches to make that happen.

Facing an 0-2 count, Kinkead deposited the next pitch over the left-center field fence for a walk-off solo home run giving Belle a 7-6 win in eight innings over Richland.

Inning number one could have turned out worse for the Tigers if not for their defense.

Allowing back-to-back walks to start the game, Belle starting pitcher Clayton Shockley got some help from his defensive friends.

Moments after allowing an RBI double, Shockley benefited from a double play started by Jeb Seaver who threw out a Richland runner trying to score.

That paired with an inning-ending strikeout prevented what could have been a big inning for the visiting Bears.

Falling behind 1-0, Belle went to work looking to get on the board in the bottom of the first inning.

Shockley was hit by a pitch becoming Belle’s first base runner of the game.

A Lane Feeler single advanced him to second base before a double steal put Shockley at third and Feeler at second.

Batting in the clean up spot, Kinkead hit a RBI single up the middle scoring Shockley to tie the game at 1-1 after one inning.

Striking out the side in the top of the second inning, Shockley gave his Tiger offense a chance at their first lead of the game.

Taking advantage of four walks, Isaiah Sullinger walked and later scored on a bases-loaded walk by Feeler giving Belle a 2-1 through two innings.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth inning.

Cole Loughridge walked and leadoff hitter Jeb Seaver singled to start the inning.

Adding to his RBI walk in the second inning, Feeler drove in Loughridge with a RBI single giving Belle a 3-1 lead. with one out.

Kinkead added to his RBI single in the first inning with another one in the sixth inning allowing Seaver to score.

Feeler then scored on a RBI groundout off the bat of Jace Gieck before Kinkead crossed the plate when Dalton McDaniel reached on an error giving Belle a 6-1 lead moving to the top of the seventh inning.

In relief of Shockley, Sullinger was in his third inning of relief when the Richland bats came to life.

Turning four hits, two errors and a walk into five runs, Richland tied the game at 6-6 going into the bottom of the seventh inning.

Loughridge and Shockley were both hit by pitches but were left stranded sending the game into extra innings.

Overcoming the five-run seventh inning, Sullinger retired the side in the top of the eighth inning giving Belle a chance to win it in the bottom of the eighth.

Three pitches into the bottom of the eighth, Kinkead’s solo home run gave the Tigers a victory in their season opener.

Sullinger (1-0) earned the win in relief going four innings allowing five runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts.

Shockley pitched the first four innings allowing one run on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Finishing a triple shy of the cycle, Kinkead reached base five times with four hits, two runs scored, three RBIs and a walk.

Seaver (2) and Feeler (2) also recorded multi-hit games for the victorious Tigers.

Belle’s next action on the diamond is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) in a Highway 89 showdown against Linn with a 5 p.m., first pitch at Belle City Park weather and field conditions permitting.

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