One play can turn around the complexion of a baseball game, which is exactly what happened Thursday night to the Dodge City Athletics in their Jayhawk League opener to the Liberal BeeJays.
Dodge City rightfielder Kyle Young dropped a fly ball that would have ended the top of the third inning, but instead allowed the first two runs for the BeeJays to score and the visitors were able to record a 5-2 victory over the Athletics.
Hasten Freeman was the hard-luck losing pitcher for the Athletics (2-1, 0-1). Freeman pitched five innings and gave up three unearned runs, three hits and four walks while striking out two on the mound. He gave up a run-scoring single after the dropped error.
The Dodge City middle infield of Scott Loper and Michael Flax were able to produce double plays in the first two innings of play, while the Athletics took the early lead in the bottom of the first. Zach Jacobs walked, stole second and scored on a throwing error by winning pitcher Justin Bethard to try to get Kevin Hall out on an infield hit.
Dodge City looked to have gotten out of the third inning without giving up any runs until Young's drop of a fly ball by Darien McLemore. The BeeJays (5-1, 2-1) added another run on a RBI single by Seth Stevens.
The Athletics had a chance to score in the fifth, but stranded runners at second and third base on a strikeout and a groundout. Dodge City did cut the margin to 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh on a RBI fielder's choice given to Jacobs.
Bethard threw five innings for the win, giving up an unearned run, three hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Liberal scored the final runs on RBI singles by Sam Pack and Tanner Rainey.
The Athletics hit the road this weekend for three Jayhawk League games Friday through Sunday against the Wellington Heat. Each game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.