MOUNDRIDGE — The Moundridge baseball Wildcats were one step away from state.
The Wildcats ran out of magic on Tuesday, as after winning a semifinal game from higher-seed Medicine Lodge 3-0, the season ended with a 5-3 loss to No. 1-seed Spearville in the finals.
“We were playing our best baseball the last two days and as a coach that is all you can ask of your team,” MHS coach Lynn Eichelberger said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win at the end. I will miss my nine seniors, especially my son, Noah. He was always patrolling center field and he was fun to coach and watch. He ran down two balls today that most outfielders can't get to that saved numerous runs. I will miss him.”
The Wildcats played their best game of the year to advance to the finals. Medicine Lodge was the No. 2 seed, but was silenced by Chris Leddy, who threw a two-hitter and received solid defense. He walked four and fanned seven in a dazzling performance.
The Wildcats scored the only run they needed in the fourth, but added a pair in the sixth for insurance.
“Chris Leddy pitched a great game,” Eichelberger said. “A two-hit shutout against a team that was 14-6 coming in is a solid outing. He pitched out of a jam in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and no outs. He got a strikeout, a pop-up to the catcher and a ground ball right back to him. That was a great boost after we had just scored in the top of the inning on a suicide squeeze attempt that was a wild pitch. We added some insurance runs in the sixth on a leadoff double by Bryant Olson and base hit by Luke Ratzlaff. We then scored our third run on a dropped third strike and a throwing error by the catcher, plating Peyton Fast who scored from first base.”
In the championship game, Spearville scored four runs in the second and led 5-0 until the fifth when MHS scored all its runs.
“The fourth inning cost us the game I felt,” Eichelberger said. “There were a couple of bloop hits that I thought we could have got outs on, followed by a error on a ball that took a bad bounce. Spearville plated four runs that inning and never looked back. We fought back with three runs in the fifth and had runners in scoring position in the seventh, but could not get them home to tie the game. Collin Kohl pitched a nice game on the hill for us. Kohl also helped his cause with a two-RBI double in the fifth to get us back in the game. We came up short, but never quit and battled until the end.”
Moundridge closed the year 9-14.