Mitch Walding was turning from side to side, trying to find a way to get to the pop up behind third base. Roman Quinn was racing over to help from his shortstop position.
In the split-second before the ball fell, untouched, to the lush green grass of the Bowman Field outfield, Quinn and Walding looked at each other. The look between the two was the same after Walding, who had already committed an error in Monday's fateful ninth inning, picked up the baseball with his glove.
What should have been the second out of the inning instead loaded the bases with one out. Six pitches later Jacob Tanis lofted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Austin Booker with an unearned run and give Vermont a 3-2 win over Williamsport.
It was the Crosscutters' fifth loss on the six-game homestand. They embark on a three-day road trip to Auburn and State College before coming home for a game with the Spikes on Friday. Williamsport also lost its sixth consecutive series.
"Obviously, 1-5 is not great. But I thought we played pretty well this homestand," Cutters manager Andy Tracy said. "The last three games we played really well, I thought. This is why these guys are here at this level, to play under the lights in the ninth inning in a situation where the game is on the line. We just didn't come out on top."
Williamsport had an opportunity to tie the game in the ninth after Quinn led off the inning with his third hit of the night. The previous two times in which he led off an inning with a hit Monday, he later scored in the inning.
After Cameron Perkins missed on his first bunt attempt, Quinn, who stole his 11th base of the season earlier in the night, was balked to second by Austin House. Perkins, however, never did get a bunt down and struck out when he bunted foul with two strikes.
Larry Greene Jr. then hit a tapper out in front of the plate which moved Quinn to third, but also gave the Cutters two outs. Chris Serritella then lined a 3-2 pitch to shortstop and Chris Bostick made the play to end the game.
Quinn was one of 11 runners the Cutters left on base. The team was also just 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position. Over their last seven games, Williamsport is 10 for 86 (.116) with runners in scoring position.
"Some guys were chasing some stuff," Tracy said. "We had three or four looking strikes in 3-2 counts with baserunners moving. That's a tough time to take a called third 3-2 with the baserunners moving because holes are open and stuff will be open."
Williamsport wasted another good outing from a pitching staff that had been struggling entering the six-game homestand. Jordan Guth threw five innings allowing just two runs and five hits.
Jon Musser, who was moved to the bullpen after three starts and has made his last three appearances out of the bullpen, threw a scoreless inning in the sixth, working around a pair of hits. Andre Kinder then pitched three great innings, giving up just the unearned run in the top of the ninth.
With one out in the ninth, Booker grounded one to third that went through Walding's legs. Booker then went to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run. Following the miscommunication on the popup, Tanis lofted a 3-2 pitch to center for the winning run.
"He just made a mistakes. He's a young kid. The ball was hit right at him and went through his legs," Tracy said. "I'm sure he's beating himself up more than we're beating him up. He's a good defensive ballplayer."
Williamsport scored both of its runs after Quinn led off the third and fifth innings with a hit. In the third he tripled to the right-field corner and scored on an RBI groundout from Greene. In the fifth, after leading off with single, he stole second base and scored on a Cameron Perkins base hit to right field that glanced off the glove of first baseman Miguel Marte and into shallow right field.
"He had a great game," Tracy said. "Everything was solid with what he did. He even got on base in the ninth, the pitcher got flustered and he balked. It was just things didn't work out from there."