Tri-Village baseball loses close tournament game at Riverside


By Drew Terhall

DE GRAFF — In a close game, the 18th seed Tri-Village baseball fell short of the upset and lost 4-3 to 13th seed Riverside in the OHSAA Division IV Baseball Southwest Sectional.

Head coach Josh Davies said he knew he would have a young, inexperienced team to start the season and the team showed their growth in this game.

They pitched well and played solid defense, they just couldn’t capitalize on a lot of their scoring chances.

“We went through periods of time where it looked really bad. But we continued to work, struggled here and there. They persevered and we kept making little strides. We focused on defense and pitching. Now it’s getting runners across. We’re playing in close games, we just got to find a way to finish them,” Davies said.

Riverside scored in the bottom of the first inning with two outs to go up 1-0. They then loaded the bases and were close to getting another run across. Sophomore Jaiden Beam didn’t give the hitter much to work with and forced a weak ground ball to end the inning.

Tri-Village got runners on and in scoring position in the first three innings. The ball just didn’t find open space when it needed to early on.

Riverside scored on a sacrifice groundout to go up 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning. They tried to score another run on a passed ball later in the inning. But junior Kaeden Lipps got the ball near the back stop and tossed it over to Beam for the final out of the inning.

The defense made some plays to keep the game close. Junior Lane Bierly laid out for a ball in center field to take away extra bases.

The Patriots then had bases loaded with one out in the top of the fourth inning. They tried to score a run on a passed ball, but the runner was called out at home. They left the fourth still down 2-0.

Then Tri-Village got the spark they needed to gain the lead. Sophomore Noah Finkbine ripped a ball down the left field line for a lead-off home run.

With runners on base, junior Ayman Stephens tied the game with a RBI hit. Sophomore Levi Farmer hit a RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. They did load the bases later, but couldn’t get more runs to score.

Riverside responded and retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. A two-out RBI double tied the game. Riverside then scored a run on an error to take the lead again.

Like they were all game long, Tri-Village was threatening to score. They had runners on second and third with one out. The Patriots hit a line drive that was caught by the diving Riverside short stop. He got up and flipped it over to second base for a inning-ending double play.

Davies said they’ve had that kind of luck all season long. When they needed it the most, they couldn’t get that one hit to drop.

“That’s kind of been the story of our season. When we need that key ball to drop or key catch, it went the other direction,” Davies said. “Some years, it goes your way. Last year at the very beginning of the season, it seemed like everything was falling our way. But, things are getting better.”

Even when they were down and lady luck was not on their side, the Patriots battled for seven innings. Beam pitched five innings and had a pair of strikeouts. The Patriots defense and Beam limited the damage Riverside could have caused all game long.

Freshman Lucas Brown pitched a scoreless inning and had a strikeout. Davies said the pitching depth has improved and is better now compared to the start of the season. Three players pitched around 30 innings with some guys getting a chance on the mound here and there.

The team finished with a 5-15 record and a 1-9 WOAC record. They only lose one senior, Brock Durst. The rest are set to return next season.

Davies said he is proud of the work the team has put in all season long to improve. He doesn’t want them to stop now.

“I keep telling them, the offseason is truly where you make yourself better. They work so hard, don’t stop now. Continue to play the game. Focus on your summer leagues, your select teams. Whenever we offer open cages, open fields be there. Hold each other accountable. Let’s not stop now, let’s continue to grow,” Davies said.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected].

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