QUINCY, Ill. – Connor Manthey watched Cape Catfish right fielder Andrew Stone run out of room against the wall as he tracked Manthey’s flyball.
That made the Hannibal Hoots’ catcher wonder if the ball would land on the other side of the wall.
"I knew I hit it really high in the air," Manthey said. "But I thought it had a chance."
It didn’t. It landed in Stone’s glove to Manthey’s dismay.
A couple more feet and Manthey would have tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run home run. Instead, the Hoots’ rally fell short for the second time Tuesday night as they suffered a doubleheader sweep to the Catfish, losing 8-5 and 6-4 at QU Stadium.
"Baseball is a game of inches," Manthey said. "If I get those, maybe it’s a different game. But sometimes you get those inches and sometimes you don’t."
Hannibal (10-23) didn’t get those breaks in either game.
Cape (24-12) had a four-run inning in each game that put Hannibal in deficits. In the opener, a three-run home run by John Behrends highlighted a four-run fourth, which made it 6-1. The Catfish had their largest lead at 8-1.
In the nightcap, Ellison Hanna II’s two-run double to the gap in left field highlighted the fifth inning as the Catfish made it 6-2.
The Hoots, however, rallied to make it close.
Jared Wegner drove in a run on a groundout, and Grant Hannant scored on a wild pitch in the sixth to cut it to 8-3. In the seventh, Hannant had an RBI single, and Kyler Kent drove in a run on a groundout. A strikeout, however, ended the threat and the game.
Hannibal responded in the fifth inning of the nightcap when Austin Wood scored on a wild pitch. He led off the seventh with a solo homer to right that cut the Hoots’ deficit to 6-4. Wood finished the nightcap 4 for 4 and scored twice.
Kent drew a one-out walk before Manthey nearly tied the game on the next at-bat.
"We’ve had the winning run on base or at the plate so many times this year," Hoots manager Clayton Hicks said. "We just haven’t been able to get that clutch hit when you need it. That’s the difference between teams that are above .500 and those that are below .500."
The Hoots had 12 hits in the opening game, and eight in the second. However, they combined to strand 14 runners on base in both games.
Daunte DeCello had three hits in the opener while Hannant and Joe Roscetti each had two.