PURDY -- On a crisp day in spring for the boys of summer, the Aurora Houn' Dawgs put a bite on the Eagles of Purdy, 16-2.
Put another way, every imaginable play that could go wrong for Purdy -- did. It all came up roses for Aurora on Thursday night: walks, hits and steals, feeding off Purdy's errors (7), bad bounces and weird hops. Sloppy Eagle fielding was more claw than glove.
The surprise is that the game went as long as six innings.
Yet the first inning gave no hint of what was to come. Three Aurora runs were answered by Purdy junior Riley Veith's double, scoring Cody Hall, making it 3-1.
Inning two became tragic, but not of the Shakesperian variety. Eight Aurora batters connected on four hits, including a home run, and the game veered into little more than varsity-jv scrimmage. Pop-ups lost in the sun, grounders deflected by evil pebbles, dropped balls and brazen steals made it a non-contest. Everything fell Aurora's way.
"We needed a game like this, where our bats broke out," said Aurora Coach Grant Baker. His team is now 4-4 on the season, including a previous win over Purdy and two losses to McDonald County.
"By far the best hitting game for us," he concluded.
Eagles' Coach Josh Hughes went with Reese Stevenson on the mound and stayed with him well into four innings against the Class 3 non-league opponent.
With Aurora up 8-1, Daniel Burnside came on in relief and gave up another eight with help from his teammates. Sixteen runs on 11 hits are suggestive of the Eagles' fielding circus.
For a team that had pushed the door open to the state quarterfinals last season, this was grim stuff to take.
So Coach Hughes put on his counselor cap to get his kids through it. Many team huddles and moderated words were employed to weather the day.
Aurora had game termination at hand (10-1) as early as the fourth inning, but Purdy played through and managed to put one more on the board in the sixth. Getting another run across the plate was about pride in the face of farce.
Yet the Eagles were snake-bit to the end. Late in the game, runner Cody Hall caught his foot rounding first base and injured his knee.
"It's tough losing like that," said Hughes. "It's tough losing morale. It's tough losing one of our better players."
Ironic, as Hall's throw from right field to home plate was Purdy's best defensive moment in the game -- notwithstanding the umpire's call for another Dawg run.
"We build from it -- but it hurts to lose Cody," lamented Hughes.
Purdy plays at Southwest on Monday.