On a hot and humid morning in early April, the Royals took to the field and looked to be in good spirits.
With a little bit of rain on the horizon, they had a strong team on the field.
But it wasn’t just their first win over a Kingsport team since 2009, they’d also taken the last six in a row.
It wasn’t a confidence booster for the Royals, who had lost five of their last six to Kingsport.
But this was a day they wanted to celebrate.
They had to be.
The Royals were on the cusp of winning the championship.
BEST TO CLOSE THE SEASON In the third inning, Royals shortstop Raul Ibanez was hit by a pitch and landed on the head.
A few seconds later, he was taken from the game on a stretcher.
His teammates and coaches were all in attendance.
The only thing they could see was that Ibaneza had a concussion and was lying on the ground.
“I was still in the game,” said the Royals pitcher.
“We’re not really going to be talking about the concussion.
We’re going to focus on the game.
We just need to focus and get the next one going.”
It was a win-or-go-home situation.
On April 25, 2015, the Kansas City Royals played the Kingsport Kings in the championship series.
This was the first of two playoff games the Royals would play in the Western Conference Championship Series, the next year in the NLCS.
After the Royals won their first game in the series, they faced the Cleveland Indians in the third.
The game was on the road.
In the first inning, the Kings responded with a six-run eighth inning, their first run of the day since they had started with a two-run lead.
But with runners on first and third and a lead of two, Royals starter Scott King caught a ball at third and scored on a fielder’s choice.
That set the stage for a five-run seventh inning.
With two outs and two outs in the top of the ninth, Royals third baseman Benito Santiago caught a single.
He made it a one-out game.
“That’s what we needed,” said Kings catcher Alex Hirsch, who was standing just inside third when he caught the ball.
“There was no way the ball would go to first and get a runner.
But there was one thing I didn�t see, and that was the ball actually going to the mound. “
A lot of things can happen in one inning, and I didn’t think that I was going to catch it.
But there was one thing I didn�t see, and that was the ball actually going to the mound.
“They were maybe a little too hard, but I think that’s a part of the game that we all learn. “
The first two or three pitches I threw, they were probably just not as sharp as I thought they were going to,” said King, who finished the day with a 0.00 ERA.
“They were maybe a little too hard, but I think that’s a part of the game that we all learn.
You just have to make adjustments to get the ball down in the zone.
If it’s not a perfect pitch, you’ve got to make a good decision.”
Ibanez went down with a sprained left ankle, leaving him on the mound for just over six innings and giving the Royals a 3-0 lead.
It was the second time this season that the Royals had lost a game after starting with a lead.
On April 20, they lost 5-1 to the Chicago Cubs.
After a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning, they scored three runs in the bottom of the frame.
Ibaneze then threw the next pitch, and the Royals were in the lead again.
The next pitch was a slider, but it missed the catcher and landed inside the park.
Iverez took a knee.
The ball hit the ground, and Kingsport reliever Joe Mancino was immediately put on the disabled list.
The second inning ended with Ibanezz on the bench with a knee injury.
The third inning began with the Royals on first.
They loaded the bases and the ball went over the fence to center field.
Ivebanez walked and Mancinos hit a double.
King came to the plate, and he stole second.
“The ball just went right over his head,” said Mancini, who threw to first.
Isebanez took out his right glove to make the catch, and it was his first career catch.
Kingsport’s second baseman Chris Wood made the catch for the first run, and Royals reliever Benito Saenz came to bat for the second run.
With two outs, the inning was over.
Kingsports third baseman Josh Sadowski was called out at first base for throwing a slider