"Sometimes that's just the way it goes. I thought we left a lot of guys on base and didn't get a key hit when we needed it."
MOUNDRIDGE — Friday night's district opener of the Moundridge senior Babe Ruth baseball team will be remembered for what could have been, as they lost 4-2 to Ellsworth in their opening game of the District 4 tournament that they are hosting. The loss drops the Wildcats into the losers bracket, where they will face Lindsborg Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in a must win game for both teams.
The game was scoreless through three innings before Ellsworth got on the board with a run in the top of the fourth inning. The Cats bounced right back with two runs of their own in their half of the inning to go ahead 2-1. Ellsworth answered back with a run in the top of the fifth and things were all tied up again.
The bottom of the fifth inning was the heartache inning for Moundridge as Bryant Olson came to the plate with runners on second and third with just one out. He promptly blasted a rocket back at the pitcher, who in attempting to protect himself deflected the ball in the air to his shortstop for the out rather than a likely two run single. A strike out then ended a potential go ahead inning for the Cats.
After a failed squeeze-bunt attempt in the bottom of the seventh for the Wildcats the game went into the eight, where Ellsworth scored two runs and held Moundridge in the bottom half to take the victory and stay in the winners bracket.
"I think when Bryant Olson hit that ball off the pitcher and the shortstop caught it, that was two runs," said Moundridge coach Lynn Eichelberger. "sometimes that's just the way it goes. I thought we left a lot of guys on base and didn't get a key hit when we needed it."
Chris Leddy led Mounrdridge at the plate, going 2 for 3 and scoring a run. Olson was 2 for 4 and Colton Stucky was 1 for 2.
Dylan Sugars started on the hill for the Cats and pitched three innings, giving up one hit, two walks and striking out five. Kyle Stucky came on in relief in the fourth inning and gave up two runs on one hit while striking out five in two and two third innings. Cats' closer Caleb Frye got the final out in the sixth inning and pitched the rest of the way, getting tagged with the loss despite three strike outs.
The Wildcats take on a Lindsborg team Saturday that they are very familiar with. Lindsborg dropped into the losers bracket in a loss Friday to CVL.
"We know them, they know us," said Eichelberger. "We were also missing a few of our guys tonight so that hurt us as well and we won't have them back until Sunday, if we can get there."
Contact Matt Cole by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel.