My high school coach used to drill one thing into my head: “Physical mistakes I can handle, but mental mistakes I can’t.” Both can cost a team a game, but a brain fart is avoidable whereas a fielding error isn’t.
I don’t even want to know what the coach for the University of Rio Grande’s baseball team was thinking when a runner ruined their walk-off hit.
Base Running Blunder Costs Team Walk-Off
Ohio’s Rio Grande was battling in a 4-4 nail-biter against Kentucky’s Midway College in the NAIA 2021 River States Conference Baseball Championship. Loser goes home.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, Rio Grande was set up with first and third and two outs.
Red Storm catcher Billy Cooper laced a single to center field. The runner on third scored and everyone went wild. Everyone thought the game was over via the walk-off single.
That wasn’t the case thanks to a heads-up play from Midway.
Rio Grande’s runner on first never actually touched second base on the play. All Midway had to do was throw the ball into second for the force-out, which nullified the run at home.
Basically, the runner on first got so excited over the walk-off hit he made the biggest base running mistake of his life. He was feet away from touching second but failed to do so.
The play caused confusion on the diamond, but Midway players knew exactly what transpired.
Luckily for that poor runner, Brady Cooper (yes, the same hitter) bailed him out by hitting a walk-off that counted in the bottom of the 13th inning.
Rio Grande came away victorious but eventually lost in the tournament, which IU Southeast won.
Let this serve as a reminder to always touch the base ahead of you. I’m sure that kid will never forget.