What may have seemed small loomed large for the Hannibal baseball team Monday during a 1-0 loss to Moberly in a North Central Missouri Conference game at Veterans Sports Complex.
Hannibal (6-4, 6-3 NCMC) committed an error in the sixth inning that opened the door for Moberly (3-8, 2-4) to score the only run of the game against Pirates starter Scot Roberts.
And on the base paths, Hannibal was picked off on three different occasions to thwart any traction against Spartans top gun Drake Davidson.
“The little things came back to haunt us here today,” Hannibal coach Daryl Zessin said.
Roberts and Davidson engaged in a pitching duel that was scoreless through five innings.
Roberts, who pitched a complete game in the loss, struck out six batters through three innings and compiled 10 punch outs on the day compared to just a pair of walks.
As was fitting for a contest dominated by pitching, Moberly scored the game's only run in the top of the sixth despite not hitting the ball out of the infield.
Davidson reached base on a Hannibal error, and the Spartans then legged out an infield single and reached on a hit by pitch to load the bases with two outs. Senior Trey Stewart beat out an infield single to bring home the all-important unearned tally.
In the bottom of the same frame, Hannibal's Lucas Brown walked and made it to second base with one out. Chandler Moffitt then reached on an error to put runners on first and third — a prime opportunity for the Pirates to crack the scoreboard.
But Moffitt was picked off at first base before Gabe Worthington popped out to center field to put the brakes on the Pirates' potential rally.
Hannibal also had a runner picked off first base in the first inning before another was picked off second base in the third.
“That's unacceptable,” Zessin said. “You get picked off once, you start watching and making sure you understand that move. Second time, maybe, but not three. Twice, we had runners in scoring position, so that really hurts.”
Davidson worked around two Moberly errors during the game to pitch a near-flawless seven-inning outing. He struck out six while allowing just one free pass.
Hannibal mustered only five base runners against Davidson during the contest.
Lawson Rickey led the Pirates with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Worthington and Roberts collected the squad's lone other hits.
“We've known all along, and our kids know too, that this conference is a baseball conference,” Zessin said of the NCMC. “Nobody is a pushover. We've got to go out and play everyday if we're going to win.
“We're not out of it. There's a lot of ball left and these guys know that. They're eager to play. Hopefully we can put more runs on the board.”
Moberly 1, Hannibal 0
Moberly 000 001 0 – 1 5 2
Hannibal 000 000 0 – 0 4 1
HANNIBAL (6-4) – LP: Scot Roberts. Top hitter: Lawson Rickey 2-for-3
MOBERLY (3-8) – WP: Drake Davidson. Top hitter: Drake Gross 2-for-2