Playoff run ends as Bombers final push falls shortJuly 26, 2018
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — The boys in red, white and blue fought hard for nine innings to overcome a 1-0 playoff series deficit, but when the final out was recorded on Wednesday night the season came to an end for the Dubois County Bombers who fell 6-3 against the Owensboro RiverDawgs.
Bombers Coach Andy Lasher said the team didn’t play their best game, but overall he wouldn’t say it was a bad performance. He believed they had a few chances to take control of the momentum over the course of the evening, but that doesn’t undermine the improvements that he has seen from his guys all summer after the 0-6 start at the beginning of the season.
“We had chances to take the lead there late,” he said. “We weren’t bad by any means, and this group has gotten better and better throughout the summer. So, maybe they just ran out of gas. They made a lot of strides individually.”
The contest was tight from the start, as the Bombers (27-18) were the first to draw blood thanks to an error at third base during a base hit from first baseman John McDonald, which allowed second baseman Cooper Trinkle to score.
The next few innings would be scoreless as Dubois County starter Kevin Davis and his Owensboro (32-14) counterpart Ian Evans took turns fanning each other’s lineups, but the RiverDawgs finally struck back in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded, second baseman Nick Sanders connected with Davis to drive in right fielder Cam Curry. Fortunately, the Bombers were able to limit the damage in this instance, and quickly got the outs necessary to end the top half of the fourth inning.
But the sixth inning rolled around and Owensboro’s offense struck once more. Sanders once again served as the engine to drive in Curry, and another single by catcher Wyatt Daly forced an error out of the Bomber’s defense to allow center fielder Austin Peterson to cross home plate. The RiverDawgs closed the inning with a 3-1 lead, as Dubois County continued their struggle to put together meaningful hits on Ellis.
“Ellis does a really good job of mixing speeds, he throws three pitches and has really good command of all of them,” said Lasher. “With the number of strikes he throws you have to respect that he’s going to come at you.”
Dubois County did answer back in the eighth inning as a McDonald single with two outs drove in center fielder Evan Kahre to draw the Bombers within one run of the RiverDawgs, 3-2. But it was a different story in the top of the ninth inning.
It started with a walk by Owensboro shortstop Danny Torres, who drew a controversial ball four pitch call from the umpire during a check swing. Then Curry was able to follow the walk with a single to drive in pinch hitter Thomas Cessna, who had a base hit to start the ninth. First baseman Jacob Shuler, who had been hitless in three plate appearances with two strikeouts before the ninth, finally put the barrel on the ball and clocked a huge double to bring in Curry and Torres, which put the RiverDawgs ahead 6-2.
The Bombers kept swinging until the end. Trinkle was able to drive in third baseman Tanner Craig with a bomb-shot double that looked like it could go over the fence, but in the end it wouldn’t be enough. When shortstop Nick Gonzales hit into the force out play at first for the final out, that ended the Bombers’ season.
Davis finished the game allowing two runs on three hits to go with two strikeouts and five walks in five innings. Trinkle, Kahre, McDonald, and catcher Chase Andrews each finished with two hits. Trinkle and McDonald each drove in a run.
Ellis allowed two runs on six hits while striking out five in seven and one-third innings of work. Curry went three-for-five with an RBI. Sanders and Shuler each had a pair of runners driven in.
Lasher said he’ll remember the season for the grit the team showed in overcoming their slow start to bounce back and win 25 games in the regular season, and make it to the second round of postseason play. He hopes that this summer has taught the guys how to be better ballplayers in their preparation and approach to the game so that they can become key contributors to their home teams when they return to school.
“I’m proud of the way they got better and better as it went on,” said Lasher. “They could have very easily folded early on with the terrible start we had. I hope they got a better sense of what it takes to play college baseball. Physically there’s nothing these guys aren’t capable of. They just have to learn how to play the game. It’s a different game than high school or when you’re not playing a lot as a freshman. You get to play everyday, you start to understand you can’t do certain things that you’ve done your whole life. I think they got a lot better at that throughout the year.”
The Bombers will get a few more games together when they take off for Louisville to play in the Bluegrass World Series. They will play their first game on Monday, July 30.
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