By John Bohnenkamp
The Burlington Bees committed six errors in Sunday’s 11-7 loss to the O’Fallon Hoots, but Bees manager Gary McClure added one more that won’t show up in the box score.
“I think it just comes down to being prepared to play,” McClure said. “And that’s a mental error in itself.”
What was another solid pitching outing from McLain Harris was ruined by the Bees’ mistakes in the field. Harris gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings, but only two were earned.
The right-hander, one of the Prospect League’s top pitchers with a 2.88 earned run average and 48 strikeouts, struck out seven, but his pitch count ran out in the sixth inning.
“I feel bad for Harris — he pitched a great game,” McClure said. “And had he not had all of those (errors) he might have went into the eighth inning today. But his pitch count got up there more because of that.”
The Bees’ fielding struggles started with the first batter, when Luke Vinson turned a slow grounder up the middle into a double. He then stole third and scored when catcher Chase Honeycutt’s throw went into left field.
Another error in the third inning led to the Hoots’ second run, then two more errors gave O’Fallon two runs in the fifth inning without the benefit of a hit.
“Not only did we make errors, but every one of them scored,” McClure said. “We had more errors in the fifth inning than they had hits. You’re not going to win like that.”
Harris (3-2) gave up six hits and had no walks.
“He was probably the highlight of the day,” McClure said. “Pitched really well, gave us a great game, gave us a great opportunity to win. But we didn’t give ourselves a great opportunity to win.”
Clayton Stephens had two home runs for the Hoots, including a three-run homer in the seventh inning that gave O’Fallon a 10-2 lead.
The Bees got two home runs from Marcos Sanchez and one from Jackson Jones. The two have combined for 19 home runs this season.
“(Sanchez) is getting pitches to hit, and hitting them,” McClure said. “Same thing with Jones. Those guys have got a plan when they go to the plate.”
Bees center fielder Lincoln Riley extended his hitting streak to nine by going 2-for-5 with a double and two runs batted in. Riley is hitting .378 in the streak.
“He’s just a grinder,” McClure said.
Jackson Keller (2-0) was the winning pitcher.
Photo: Marcos Sanchez rounds the bases after his second home run in Sunday’s game. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)