MOUNDRIDGE — The Moundridge High School baseball team took an early three-run lead, but a late comeback by Leon Bluestem sank the Wildcats’ state hopes in an 8-5 Bluestem win Wednesday in the Class 2-1A regional finals Wednesday in Moundridge.
The Wildcats led 4-1 after three inning, but gave up five runs in the fourth inning and two more runs in the fifth. Moundridge scored a run in the top of the seventh.
The Wildcats outhit Bluestem 12-7, but four errors led to seven unearned runs.
“We came out on the short end of the score tonight but once again, our team did not give up leaving the bases loaded in the seventh inning to give us a chance at the end,” Moundridge coach Lynn Eichelberger said. “We tried to slow down the pace of the game to keep a good team like Bluestem out of rhythm by checking runners a lot and changing pitchers with a lot of mound visits. We had them guessing the first four innings and then in the bottom of the fourth we gave them extra outs and they made us pay with five runs, three of which was unearned. We pitched three pitchers and settled on Caleb Frye who was doing the best job.”
Dakota Clift went 5 2-3 innings for Bluestem, allowing three earned runs on nine hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts. Blake Bevan finished the game for the save, allowing a run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Frye went 4 2-3 innings, allowing four unearned runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Chris Leddy was charged with a loss, allowing two runs on a hit with four walks. Noah Eichelberger finished the game, allowing two runs on one hit.
Peyton Fast went two for three hitting for Moundridge, driving in two runs. Anthony Otte went two for four with an RBI. Frye also drove in a run. Dylan Sugars went two for three hitting. Noah Eichelberger went two for four.
Bevan drove in three runs for Bluestem. Coy Moran went three for three with an RBI. Tritten Beavers went two for four with an RBI. Clift and Nicholas Laidler each drove in a run.
“The top five hitters for us combined for nine hits and really were aggressive at the plate,” Lynn Eichelberger said. “I will miss the seniors and all they did for the program. We had a fun and successful season, but it will take a few days for the players to get over the disappointment of losing before they remember the good times they had winning sixteen games. Sixteen wins is the most wins we have had in the last 10 years or so.”
Bluestem, 14-4, advances to the Class 2-1A state tournament May 25 at the Great Bend Sports Complex. Moundridge ends the season 15-7.
Frye, Leddy (L) 5, Eichelberger 6 and n/a; Clift (W), Bevan (S) 6 and n/a.