Heartbroken by an extra-inning, game-ending knock, then blown out in the encore.
Basically the two worst outcomes a baseball team can face, and both unfortunately brought about a rapid end to the Farmington Strike Zone Cardinals' summer. And with it, that of Bayfield Wolverine regulars Matthew Knickerbocker and Kelton McCoy in the opening stages of the 2014 Connie Mack World Series in Farmington.
The World Series hosts the best high school travelling baseball teams in the nation every August.
The Danville Hoots from California ended the Strike Zone's fifth straight inclusion in the event in only five innings Sunday night at Ricketts Park by a bloated 16-2 margin.
Winners of the Northern California state-level tournament, and assured a spot in Farmington via the West Region tourney championship, Danville - which last reached the series in 2011 -stormed out to a six-run lead after one inning and had an 8-0 advantage before making an out in the second.
Taken in June as a catcher by the San Francisco Giants in the 34th round of the Major League Baseball Draft, Hoots hurler Tim Susnara took a no-hit bid into the Cards' fourth. The Strike Zone finally got on the board in the middle of the game. Catcher Kelton McCoy did, however, make an impressive play at home plate as one of the Hoots barrelled home. But McCoy held his ground - and the ball - to get the out.
Had it not been for one fateful hack not 48 hours earlier, Strike Zone's fate might have been different.
With Knickerbocker managing a single and later a run, the Cardinals had Mack powerhouse Midland, Ohio, unexpectedly on the defensive and trying to overcome a 2-0 deficit after two-and-a-half innings of Game 2 on Friday. And until the bottom of the ninth, Strike Zone seemed set to spring a major upset.
The Redskins undoubtedly gained a crucial morale boost from club alumni and MLB stars Ken Griffey, Jr. who delivered a speech to the crowd that night, and Barry Larkin, who had just been inducted into the tournament's Hall of Fame.
A Midland player then smacked a one-out drive to Ricketts' left-field barrier and brought in three Midland runners for a 3-2 victory. Or escape. Strike Zone finished with a 25-17 overall record this summer.
All told, in addition to Danville and Midland in the World Series mix were the Carolina Vaqueros from Puerto Rico, the Bill Hood Baseball Broncos of Mandeville, La., the Detroit Metro Stars of Michigan, the McKinney, Texas-based Frozen Ropes, the South Troy (N.Y.) Dodgers, and two D-BAT Mustang squads from Addison, Texas.
The Series concludes with its 18th game tonight at 5:15 p.m., with an if-needed 19th game at 8 p.m.