TROY — Deep postseason runs have been the norm for Tri-County North’s baseball program of late.
This season was no different, although the Panthers came up short of their ultimate goal, falling 11-7, to Fort Loramie in a Division IV district final at Duke Field in Troy on Friday, May 18.
The Panthers reached the regional round three of the past five seasons, but had to settle for a district runner-up trophy this season.
Friday’s game against Fort Loramie was a heart breaker as North rallied from an early deficit to tie the game late only to see the Redskins score six times in their final two at-bats.
The game was tied at five with Fort Loramie batting in the bottom of the fifth when the Redskins plated the go-ahead run with a double. They added four more runs in the inning and tallied an additional run in the sixth.
North played from behind from the outset as Loramie scored single runs in the first, second and third innings for a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, Liam Downing reached on an error. Wyatt Hutchins singled an out later to score Downing and cut the deficit to 3-1.
Loramie added two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 5-1 lead.
In the fifth, Dylan Curtain doubled and Casey Whipp reached on an error. Collin Whipp followed with a single to score Curtain to make it 5-2. After a strikeout, Chandler Sproles doubled to left to score Casey and Collin Whipp. Hutchins singled to score Sproles to tie the game at 5-5.
In the bottom of the fifth, North couldn’t contain the Redskins. A pair of one out singles followed by a double put Loramie back in front 6-5. The next batter was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A double cleared the bases, scoring all three runners to give Loramie a 9-5 lead. Another hit scored a run to make it 10-5.
In the sixth, North went down in order and the Redskins added a run in their half of the inning for an 11-5 lead.
The Panthers didn’t go down without a fight.
Casey Whipp singled to begin the seventh. Collin Whipp followed with a single and a one-out walk to Sproles loaded the bases. Hutchins singles to score a pair of runs to trim the Loramie lead to 11-7. But a fielders choice and ground out ended the game.
Collin Whipp took the loss for North. He went 4.1 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits and striking out four.
The Panthers finished with nine hits in the game. Wyatt Hutchins went 3-for-4 and had four RBIs. Collin Whipp was 2-for-4. Sproles was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
To reach the district final, North rolled past Tri-Village 12-2 on Wednesday, May 16 at Covington High School.
Matt O’Dell pitched a complete game, five-hitter to get the win.
North scored a run in the first and added six more in the second. The Panthers extended their lead to 11-0 after three.
For the game, North had just five hits but took advantage of two Patriot errors and nine walks.
Sproles was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Downing and Chayse Eby each added a hit.
North will return the bulk of its roster next year. Sproles and Jacob Isaacs are the team’s only seniors.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH