PLEASANT HILL – Without a single ray of sunshine the entire evening, the Tri-Village Patriots lost to the Lehman Catholic Cavaliers 8-2 in the district championship.
With each inning the rain fell harder, but the Patriots refused to fall, too, without a fight.
In the bottom of the first inning, after getting nothing going on offense, the Tri-Village defense played an excellent start to the game consisting of Luke Wheeler making a diving stop on a hopping ground ball to throw out a runner at first and Camren Munchel diving to catch a pop fly for the third out, scooping under the ball just before it hit the ground.
In the top of the second inning, the Patriots had an opportunity to jump out with the lead. After back-to-back singles by Mason Sullenbarger and Christian Ricker, Wheeler was walked, leaving the bases loaded. Things quickly turned sour for Tri-Village as a runner was picked off at third and the following batter hit a pop fly for the third out.
On defense, the Patriots continued their aggressive play, highlighted by Jared Buckley sprinting seemingly from one side of the field to the other to make an incredible catch.
Tri-Village only managed one hit in the top of the third inning, and the Patriot defense finally broke in the bottom. Lehman’s Max Schutt hit a perfectly placed ball into a gap in the outfield, which scored runners Brandon Barhorst and Nate Bosway, giving the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead.
Not much happened in the fourth inning as light rain turned to a steady downpour, making pitching a task for both teams.
Just as Lehman put in its relief pitcher in the top of the fifth inning, Jordan Buckley hit a double, putting a man on third base. Afterwards, Jonny Wilson cracked a single that sent in Jordan and Jared Buckley, tying the game at 2-2.
With the game tied and momentum shifting, Tri-Village was unable to seize the opportunity on offense after a Jordan Buckley double and Wilson single.
Things took a turn for the worst in the top of the sixth inning. The pitcher struggled mightily with ball placement, possibly due to a soggy mound, which had to be tended to mid-inning, and walked four batters, also hitting one with a pitch, which gave Lehman an easy two runs.
Once a pitching change was made for a second time, the bleeding continued as runners from the loaded bases continued to pour in from another walk, a single and a double. The inning ended with Lehman winning 8-2.
Tri-Village didn’t score on its final at-bat, unable to avenge the one inning where it had to battle the field just as much as Cavaliers.
For Tri-Village, Jordan Buckley had a double and one run scored. Wilson had a single with two RBIs. Christian Ricker went 2-for-3 with two singles.
For Lehman, Barhorst went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI. Bosway went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and one RBI. Parker Riley went 1-for-2 with pinch runner Owen Smith scoring. Schutt went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Dylan Arnold had a double and one RBI. Smith scored as his own runner and as a pinch runner.
Tri-Village pitcher Christian Ricker pitched four 2/3 innings with seven hits, five runs and three walks. Pitcher Jonny Wilson pitched 1 1/3 innings with one strikeout, two hits, three runs and four walks.
Lehman pitcher Stephen Monnin pitched 4 1/3 innings with two strikeouts, four hits, zero runs allowed and two walks for the win. Relief pitcher Parker Riley pitched 2 2/3 innings with one strikeout, two hits, two runs and one walk for the save.