Going into Tuesday’s baseball district semifinal game that had been suspended the night before because of weather, no one really knew what to expect. Would the Central Rebels lose the momentum of a four run sixth inning 24 hours later? Would the Festus Tigers come out with a renewed sense of hope after a night’s rest? Or vise versa? There were a lot of questions to be answered on Tuesday, but the only one that would matter would be the final score. And though the Tigers put a scare into the Rebels, Central came away with a 4-2 victory, ending the Tigers’ season with a final record of 16-8.
Resuming the game down 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth, the first two Festus batters were retired by new Rebels pitcher Cade Scherffius. However, Collin Mann (12) got a two-out base hit, and his courtesy runner, Wyatt Daugherty (10) advanced to second when Brennan Pryor‘s (12) grounder was misplayed. Jake Leitner (12) made Central pay when he launched a base hit into left center, scoring Daugherty and making the score 4-2. Caleb Hyde (11) lined out to end the inning, but the Tigers had some momentum.
Charlie Pratt (11) who had finished the sixth inning on Monday, was back on the mound for the seventh inning on Tuesday. Two base hits and a wild pitch put runners on second and third, but Pratt got a ground out to short to end the inning, and set up the Tigers for possible seventh inning rally.
After Scherffius got the Festus lead off hitter Zach Baisch (11) on strikes, he hit Pratt with a pitch, bringing up the potential tying run to the plate. Chase Cole (12) then singled to left to put two runners on with only one out. Scherffius got a huge strike out of Eddie Martin (11) for the second out, and then Matt Rosen (12) sent a ball into left-center field where Dillon Mannion, Monday’s stating pitcher for the Rebels, made a shoestring catch to end the game.
“We put up a fight in those last two frames and had the go ahead run up in both innings,” said head coach Jeff Montgomery. “Rosen hits a ball on the nose to left center, and the center fielder makes a shoestring catch. If that ball gets down, we probably win.”
The Tigers equalled its hit total from Monday in Tuesday’s final two innings, ending the game with six hits. Cole was the only Tiger with multiple hits, collecting two in the game.
Coach Montgomery lamented ending the season and seeing eight seniors leave the program. “This is a great group of young men…they had an outstanding winning culture all season. We played in a very solid district when you look at the other districts. There were four teams with more than 16 wins in this one.”
The Tigers say goodbye to seniors Chase Cole, Blake Holland, Jake Leitner, Collin Mann, Cody Peters, Brennan Pryor, Matt Rosen, and Kyle Sauer.
Central, the #3 seed will meet Potosi, the #5 seed, for the district championship on Thursday.