Drue Galassi had just misplayed a routine fly ball in left field. A run scored on the play, which would have marked the end of the inning. The next batter singled to drive in a second unearned run.
Instead of entering the home half of the inning with a 3-0 lead, the Quincy Gems only led 3-2.
The error was sure to be the unraveling of another loss for the last-place Gems.
Except it wasn’t.
Quincy created some rare good fortune of its own in the last of the inning and pushed two runs across, regaining the three-run advantage. The Gems went on to defeat the Terre Haute Rex that night, 6-2.
With just over a week left in the Prospect League season, it’s too late for the Gems to make a run for a playoff berth. But the win Tuesday night proved one thing.
“The guys who are still on this team right now, we all want to be here,” standout Michael Nielsen said. “It’s been a long year, but the best part is we want to show people we are still here. We still care and we are coming out here playing hard every night.”
Cody Birdsong mentioned Tuesday night’s game may have continued to take a turn for the worse if it were played earlier in the season.
“Earlier in the year we may have just given up and accepted they were going to come back and beat us,” the Gems infielder said. “But it’s all about attitude and the guys we have here still just want to keep playing.”
The win improved the Quincy’s record to 17-33 on the season.
The Rex would go on to defeat the Gems the next night, 7-2. The loss officially eliminated the Gems from postseason play.
With three losing streaks of six games or more this season, a postseason berth has not been talked much around Quincy for weeks. But that hasn’t prevented the team from giving their all every night.
“The guys who we have here right now are all playing hard,” Gems co-manager Adam Hightower said. “When you are playing everyday sometimes you don’t even think about the wins and losses. Our approach is to just try and go 1-0 everyday. Obviously we have not had much success doing that, but I have seen a lot of good things from our guys here of late.”
Nielsen mentioned the team has one goal for the rest of the season.
“We just want to finish strong,” the Quincy University product said. “The last week and half I feel like we are playing more like a team that what we did earlier this season. You are really seeing what all the guys are made of. It’s all starting to come together and it’s nice to see.”
Watching the team before and after games, one would be hard pressed to realize just how tough of a season it’s been for the Gems.
“We just want to go out there and have fun,” Birdsong said. “The biggest thing is we all want to be here and we are thankful we get to play baseball every day.”
Sitting around sulking about a tough loss is not an option, according to Nielsen.
“You just need to take 15 minutes to realize how the game went, what you could have done differently then you just have to move on,” he said. “But you will drive yourself crazy if you let this game eat you up.”
Sixty games are crammed into a 68-day regular season which does not allow for much downtime. But Nielsen advises it’s best to just get away from the game whenever possible during off days.
“In the end we are still just a bunch of 19, 20 and 21-year-old kids who are still learning how to compete and play,” Nielsen explained. “Sometimes the best thing is to just try and get away from baseball, especially after bad losses. You just have to hit the reset button.”
With twice as many losses than wins on the season, the Gems have had plenty of practice trying to hit the reset button. They have also had just as many chances to hit the stop button, which Hightower is thankful they have yet to do.
“It’s a situation where they all could pack it in and said lets just get this over with,” the co-manage noted. “But none of these guys we have here have done that.”
The Gems season comes to a conclusion on August 5.