Southeast of Saline rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth for a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over Hillsboro in the opening round of the Class 3A regional tournament in May 18 at Memorial Field.
It was a disappointing, but somehow fitting, ending to a season where a couple of errors or late collapses likely cost the Trojans a half-dozen wins during a 3-18 season.
With ace Austin Cross on the mound against South?east, Hillsboro matched the 15-5 purple-clad Trojans stride for stride through the early innings.
Trailing 2-1 after four innings, Hillsboro broke loose for four runs in a wild fifth inning, aided by three walks, an error, a hit batter and a couple of stolen bases.
Tyson Reimer and Kaden Kleiner each contributed RBI singles to the rally that gave Hillsboro a 6-2 lead.
Southeast countered with a run in the bottom of the fifth before taking the lead with its three-run rally in the sixth. It began and ended with a double, but in between Southeast took advantage of an error, fielder?s choice and a walk. The last double came with the bases loaded.
Southeast reliever Kody Berry, who came in to pitch the top of the sixth, struck out the side in the top of the seventh to end game and Hillsboro?s season.
?It came down to a few plays again of the loss,? coach Doug Dick said. ?Austin pitched pretty well, probably good enough to win. The bottom line is, when you?re playing a good team you?ve got to make all the plays that are routine, and maybe make one good play here or there.
?Overall, a lot of kids played pretty well,? he added. ?We scored five runs on only three hits. Offen?sively, we mustered what we could against a pretty solid team.?
Cross (3-4) went the distance for Hillsboro, throwing 127 pitches over six innings. He struck out 10 batters and walked six.
Meanwhile, South?east used three pitchers, with Berry picking up the win.
?By the time we caught on to their pitcher, they?d bring in another,? Dick said. ?They were deeper in that area than we were willing to go.?
Cross has another season remaining for the Trojans, but Dick will bid farewell to four seniors: Micah Allen, Caleb Bettles, David Dick and Jakob Hanschu.
?Micah?s season probably wasn?t as good as he would have liked, compared to last year,? Dick said. ?Last year his stats were all-state caliber. This year he finished at .267, but he still made some nice plays in the outfield and had a couple of nice throws to the plate.
?Throughout the season he was pretty steady out there for me.?
Caleb Bettles hit .241 as a designated hitter and drove in 11 runs.
?He filled a good role for us this year,? Dick said. ?He didn?t play much defense, but at the plate we got a lot out of him and had quite a few RBIs with key hits at times.
?I was proud of him for sticking it out even though he wasn?t a starter on defense. He had a good attitude about it and contrib?uted.?
Catcher David Dick hit .356 with 14 runs scored and nine driven in.
?His stats were very consistent all year,? coach Dick said. ?Last year he batted a little bit better, but this year he had a lot more power. I don?t think he had a double until this season?he hit four this season with a triple.?
Jakob Hanschu led the team with a .400 batting average and an on-base percentage of .478. He drove in 14 runs and scored 16.
?Jakob had his best season ever as a baseball player,? coach Dick said. ?He batted right at .400 and filled lots of roles for us. I thought he had the best season pitching that he?s had in high school, even though he didn?t have a lot to show for it (won-loss record).?
Dick said the team?s record doesn?t reflect its competitiveness.
?I just wish for the seniors? sake that we could have done a little better,? he said.
?We had some mental breakdowns periodically during the season, but with the kind of season we were having, there was some frustration.
?The last part of the season, I thought our attitudes were much better,? he added. ?We competed, we tried our best. That?s all you can ask, especially from the upperclassmen.?