MOUNDRIDGE — Moundridge’s Wildcats came up one victory short of advancing to state as they were defeated 8-5 by Leon Bluestem Wednesday in the Class 2-1A Regional Baseball Tournament championship game.
Moundridge got off to a 2-0 lead and later led 4-1 before Leon Bluestem started on the comeback trail.
Five runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more runs in the fifth catapulted Leon Bluestem to the victory.
The Wildcats lost despite out-hitting their opponent 12-7, as Noah Eichelberger, Dylan Sugars, Anthony Otte and Peyton Fast all had two hits. Fast also drove in two runs. Winning pitcher Dakota Clift struck out 11 Wildcats in 5 2/3 innings.
“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.”
It was a terrific year for the Wildcats, who were 16-7.
“I will miss the seniors and all they did for the program,” Eichelberger said. “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 16 games. Sixteen wins is the most wins we have had in the last 10 years or so.”