TROY —Twin Valley South’s baseball team saw its season come to an end in heartbreaking fashion in the Division IV sectional finals at Troy on Wednesday, May 18.
South couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead late and fell to Cross County Conference foe Newton, 3-2.
“Heartbreaker. What can I say? One bad inning for us.” South coach John Bassler said after the loss.”We were able to get a couple of runs early in the third inning, and it got to that sixth inning. We missed our opportunities to get the outs on defense in the sixth. If we had made those opportunites, we would have been a different story, with us pitching in the bottom of the seventh to win it.”
Coach Bassler said the team, which finished 14-11, came a long way since the beginning of the season.
“This year, we started out as the Bad News Bears. Through practice and working on what we needed to develop, they developed into a pretty solid baseball team. If we had played at the beginning of the year as we had played the end of the year, we would have been better than 14-11 at this point. I am really proud on how they progressed and lose only four seniors, so we can really build on this for next year,” he said.
The Panthers started off facing the Indians Treg Jackson who threw the first five straight strikes to down the first two South batters, but followed with seven of eight balls. Nevertheless, South failed to manage an offense and was retired in the top of the first.
Newton threatened in the first as well with it’s first three batters reaching on base with a walk, and two base hits. With bases loaded, the South defense managed to catch an infield fly, a force out at the plate and a deep fly to leave three on base and held the score to zero, which would remain scoreless through two innings.
In the third inning, South started rolling with a runner on base from a passed ball in Jared Cottingim. After Ryan Bassler bunted to advance Cottingim into scoring position, Jacob Bassler belted a double deep into center field, allowing Cottingim to cross the plate. The next batter, Cody Roell, was able to reach base on a fielding error, bringing in Bassler home as well.
South would lead 2-0 from there on, with a number of three-and-out innings due to a good display of fielding and pitching by both teams.
The Panthers were able to pull off a double play in the fifth inning when left fielder Bryant Marker caught a line drive in shallow left field and threw down the base runner at first base.
The bottom of the sixth is when the Indians mounted their comeback.
A walk, a base hit, and an error loaded up the bases with no outs as was the case in the second inning. Unfortunately, Ryan Delcap knocked in the first run for Newton, followed by Andrew Dilts who benefited from a South defender who failed to make the force out at any base. Another run was batted in later on a hard hit, and Newton took the lead 3-2 until South was able to retire the side and left two more Indians runners on base.
The seventh inning was Twin Valley’s last chance to tie or take the lead, but the final three batters hit the balls directly into the gloves of the Newton defenders, ending the game and Twin Valley South’s 2016 baseball season.
Jacob Bassler pitched through the entire game, earning two of the three runs in the game. Bassler went 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk, a single and a double. Austin Roel was walked twice, and Cottingim made a single.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH