After a tie-breaking, lead-taking two-run top of the fifth inning, Hallsville’s Indians were unable to ward off the Holden Eagles’ two-run comeback rush in the bottom of the fifth.
Despite heroic fielding and aggressive hitting and base-running, at O’Fallon’s steamy CarShield field, the Indians were unable to take the lead and finished the 2018 season with a 20-6 record and fourth-place honors.
It was the second time the two teams had played each other. Hallsville hosted them for a Saturday double-header early in April. The team split the day 1-1.
Holden scored first. After both teams went scoreless for two and a-half innings, Holden’s Preston Garnett got on with a single and was driven in by a Dakota Kilgore sacrifice double.
The Indians mounted an attack in the fourth when Zane Parnell bounced a double off the centerfield fence after Zane Burkett fouled out. The Indians could not capitalize though. Eagles pitcher Peyton Seiz teased Cooper Crane and Ethan Thompson in to pop-fly outs to end the inning.
Things stayed sweaty, steamy and static until the top of the fifth.
That is when, Holden thought they were going to keep their lead after Brandon Vincent and Jake Ashburn struck out.
Emmitt Carlos did not agree and punctuated his disagreement with a right-field single. Alex Wimer seconded the motion with a left-field single, pushing Carlos to third. Then Tanner Beatty got on via fielding error. During the confusion Wimmer and Carlos scored,
putting Hallsville up 2-1.
“It was a two-out rally. Things worked out,” Barry Koeneke, Hallsville Head baseball coach said afterward. “Couple of solid base hits, took advantage of a mistake they might have made . . . We got a chance to score and take the lead. I thought there was a spark there, we used it and took the lead.”
Unfortunately, he said, it was not Hallsville’s day to keep the spark going.
In the bottom of the inning Holden roared back from the plate.
Garnett hit a right-field single, then Andrew Martin got on after being hit by a pitch. Kilgore followed up with a center-field triple to put Holden back on top.
For Hallsville, it was three up and three down in the sixth. Holden got two on bat but Hallsville’s Crane put a stop to that with a double play.
In the seventh, Hallsville tease fans with the possibility of a tie and extra innings after Vincent singled to center and stole second. The air in the CarShield sauna thickened with tension as Ashburn flied out, followed by Carlos getting on with a walk.
Then Wimer and Beatty flied out and the season was over.
Koeneke complimented Holden’s Seiz “He did a nice job. We tried to attack back, but just didn’t have it.”
“Your defense, your pitching, your catching, has to come out and attack the next inning and we didn’t do that very well and it hurt us,” Koeneke said as players, parents and friends hugged and lugged gear to the bus on their way to a post-game meal. “We got in there, we battled, but just not enough.”
For more, please see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.