By Jacob Govero (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
There was no late inning magic for Springfield Catholic on Monday in the Class 4 – District 11 semifinals as the Fightin’ Irish fell to Logan-Rogersville 11-4. The Wildcats used a six-run fifth inning to propel them passed Catholic and into the championship game.
“We kept scoring, that’s what we’ve talked about. Playoff baseball is all about momentum. There will be good times and bad times but we’ve got to capitalize off the good ones and we did that tonight,” said Rogersville Head Coach Casey Ledl after his team’s victory.
The Wildcats took the lead in their first at bat in the bottom of the first. A line drive to the gap by Christian Casanova left him standing on second base.
After an intentional walk to shortstop Jordan Fitzpatrick and walk to DH Nathan Chainey loaded the bases, pitcher Ryan Gruener helped himself lacing a single between the shortstop and third baseman scoring Casanova and giving Rogersville a 1-0 lead.
“Getting some run support is a really big deal because I feel like I can maybe give up a run or give a walk because I’ve got some help behind me,” said Gruener on the importance of getting a lead.
Catholic answered right back in the bottom of the second. The Irish tied the game 1-1 off an errant throw by Rogersville pitcher Gruener to first base. After Justin Haake walked to load the bases, center fielder Zach Cole hit a line-drive to right field that would bring Fintan Long and Ken Burke in to score.
Catholic led 3-1 heading into the bottom half of the second inning.
Rogersville tied the game back up in its side of the inning. Left fielder Grant Umlauf reached on a fielder’s choice. Shane Gruener attempted a sacrifice bunt, but an errant throw by Catholic scored Umlauf from second making it a 3-2 score.
Rogersville tacked on one more run to tie the game 3-3 after two innings.
It would be two innings later before Rogersville would retake the lead. A single by Shane Gruener followed by walks to both Jordan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Gruener loaded the bases. Another walk to first baseman Isaac Ashley would score Shane Gruener giving the Wildcats a 4-3 lead.
That was a lead that the Wildcats would not relinquish.
Leading 4-3 as they batted in the fifth inning, Rogersville capitalized off a mix of hits, walks, and errors to add to its lead scoring six runs and pushing the score to 10-3 at the end of the fifth inning.
“We knew we would be able to hit and we finally broke through in the fifth and puts some runs together, they kind of helped us a little bit but at the same time we were having much better at bats,” added Coach Ledl.
Rogersville’s final run came in the bottom of the sixth inning. Casanova drew a walk and moved over to third base off walks to Fitzpatrick and Chainey. A wild pitch by Catholic reliever Zach Cole made the score 11-3 after six innings.
Catholic hoped for another late inning rally but weren’t able to find it. The Fightin’ Irish finish their season at 20-7 after a disappointing end to their run. It also brought an end to Coach Daugherty’s tenure at Catholic.
“My emotions from tonight are all over, I just told my kids I’m not coming back next season, I’m going to Nixa, an end to the season is never easy but this is a lot harder. I’ve been here a long time and I love these kids and it was really hard to tell them good bye,” said Coach Daugherty about this time at Catholic.
Rogersville improved to 18-6 with the win and will face off against the Aurora Houn Dawgs tomorrow night at 5 p.m. at Hollister baseball field for a chance to win the Class 4 District 11 championship.
ROGERSVILLE – 11, CATHOLIC-4
Catholic – 0300001 – 4 6 3
Rogersville – 120161x – 11 7 3
2B- Rogersville: Casanova, Fitzpatrick, 3B-Catholic: Schoen
WP: Ryan Gruener 3R, 1 ER, 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 6 K, 5 BB