COVINGTON – Tri-Village’s season ended on Wednesday as Southeastern shut out the Patriots 4-0 in an Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional championship baseball game at Covington.
The Patriots knew they would have to play well against a good Southeastern team, Tri-Village coach Jim Maples said. However, they couldn’t get enough offense going and didn’t seem to catch many breaks.
“I knew they have a pitcher 1A and a pitcher 1B,” Coach Maples said. “Those guys are pretty good. That last guy (Wes Earles) is going to Wright State on a scholarship, and the first guy (Andrew Lyons) has thrown a couple no-hitters in his career. So they’re good pitchers. I thought we hit the ball decent today. It seems like when we hit it hard we hit it right at somebody. They got a couple bloops to fall; we don’t get a couple that fall. We just didn’t seem to catch a break on some things.”
Tri-Village finished the game with five hits and two errors while Southeastern had eight hits and no errors.
Southeastern was able to quickly take a lead in Wednesday’s game thanks to some hits and some Tri-Village miscues.
In the bottom of the first Jay Connor led off with a walk for the Trojans, went to second on an errant pickoff attempt, advanced to third on a grounder and then scored on a RBI single by Lyons to put Southeastern up 1-0.
In the second inning Hayden McKee and Garrett Hunter started off the inning with back-to-back singles. Earles then recorded a RBI single to make it 2-0.
“The first couple runs we kind of let guys get a little bit extra bases out there, and they didn’t exactly knock the cover off the ball, but they got a two-run lead out there,” Coach Maples said.
Tri-Village’s best scoring opportunity came in the third inning when Jonny Wilson and Luke Wheeler recorded hits. However, they were left stranded on the corners.
Southeastern, meanwhile, was able to add to its lead in the sixth inning with three consecutive doubles from Trevor King, Lyons and McKee to make it 4-0 before Christian Ricker came in to relieve Wilson on the mound and get the Patriots out of the inning.
“I think Jonny kind of just ran out of gas there in the sixth inning,” Coach Maples said. “They put three pretty hard hit balls back together. But if you told me coming out here that we’ll give up four runs to them I could have handled that.”
Wilson, who dropped to 6-3 on the year, pitched five innings on Wednesday and surrendered four runs including three earned runs. He allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Ricker pitched a scoreless inning in relief, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out one.
Offensively Trey Frech was 1-for-2 while Jared Buckley, Jackson Plush, Wheeler and Wilson each went 1-for-3. Wilson’s hit was the 127th of his career, tying Ryan Maples and Tanner Maples for the most in program history.
Though he was disappointed with how the season ended, Coach Maples was proud of his team’s performance this season.
“We went 16-7 this year,” he said. “Talked to the boys about we were 7-0 in one-run games this year, and in games that were decided by two or less we were 10-0. So to win 16 games and have that many be so tight our record could very easily be turned around. And we found a way to win those type of ballgames. And the improvement that we had this year from last year from some guys on this team helped us get to that point, and I’m thrilled to death with that record.”
The Patriots will lose two seniors from this year’s team, Wilson and Wheeler, both of whom were four-year varsity letter winners.
“Jonny pitched a heck of a ballgame for us today,” Coach Maples said. “He’s thrown a perfect game in his career as well, too. Just a great pitcher, short stop, catcher for us. Great leader.
“Luke Wheeler led us in RBIs this year. I’ve seen him grow from just a little scrawny toothpick armed kid as a freshman to the last three years getting a lot of varsity time out there. A good hitter. Really stepped it up at short stop this year and was a vocal leader at practice and stuff for us as well, too.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.