Pats run-ruled in championshipMay 31, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
EVANSVILLE - Heritage Hills could not win its first sectional championship since 2011 on Monday when it fell, 11-1, to Evansville Memorial in the Sectional 32 Championship at the University of Evansville's Charles H. Braun Stadium.
The Patriots (9-21) were never retired in order, and they put the first two batters of the game on base. However, the Pats couldn't capitalize on the opportunities that they had. Junior Evan Bowling grounded into a 5-3 double play in the top of the first, and senior Brenden Bryant was caught trying to steal second base after reaching first on a dropped third strike with two outs in the top of the second.
They also could not bring anybody home in the top of the third when Kayden Bell walked, and also when Bowling walked to lead off the top of the fourth.
"We didn't get the timely hit when we needed it," Pats coach Andy Fischer said. "We were playing a little small ball, we moved some runners around and did the things right. We just needed a timely hit."
The Pats started sophomore righty Marcus Becher on the mound for this championship. Becher retired five of the first six batters that he saw, as he allowed just a two-out single in the bottom of the first. However, when the Tigers got something going with a pair of runners on and one out in the bottom of the third, Fischer went for the quick hook to go to fellow sophomore Camden Schipp.
"They're good hitters," Fischer said. "So, the whole game plan was what we've been practicing on all year was for them to get through the lineup one time and change the arm slot on them. It's worked out and it was working, today, too. They just got some timely hits here and there. And we didn't make a few plays and that hurt us a little bit."
Schipp nearly got out of it, but Tigers junior Adam Evans had a two-out, two-strike, two-run double. That scored senior Jake Purdue and also junior Josh Russell to put the Pats in a 2-0 deficit, and the Tigers never looked back.
Things got away from the Pats in the bottom of fourth when Memorial put on four more runs as senior Dayton Lenning doubled in fellow senior Nicholas Coleman after the latter had a leadoff triple. Schipp did not make it out of the fourth for the Pats, who turned to junior JT Smallwood in relief.
Some of Memorial's four runs in the fourth came off of some Heritage Hills errors. The Pats didn't have any errors in the 6-1 semifinal win Thursday against Boonville. However, Bryant dropped a ball on a line drive to right field off the bat of sophomore Caleb Ellspermann that scored Lenning. Ellspermann himself scored when a throw to third base got away.
Bryant led off the top of the fifth with a solo homer that cleared the left field wall near the foul pole, but Heritage Hills could not pull closer. The Tigers scored five in the bottom of the fifth, with a two-run double by Evans putting the run-rule into effect.
The Pats will be saying goodbye to three seniors: Bryant, Ed Sandoval and Lane Spencer. Even though they finished with the final record that they did, they still made it to the sectional championship and many players are coming back next year.
Fischer knows next year's team will have more experience, and they have players coming back who play baseball in the summer. He believes the future of the program is bright.
"It all depends on the mindset that they have and wanting to continue to get better," he said. "I think it will definitely carry over to next year."
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