Washington gave Francis Howell a scare before falling in the semifinals of the Class 5 District 8 Baseball Tournament Tuesday at Holt High School.
Leading 8-6, the top-seeded Vikings ended the game with eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning for a 16-6 victory.
The fourth-seeded Blue Jays (15-11) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but were never able to shut down Howell’s powerful offensive attack.
The Vikings (29-5) responded with six runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted on a three-run homer by Eli Dilday.
“Our kids were fired up all day. At one point in the game, we had a 3-0 lead. At one point, it was an 8-6 game,” said Washington Head Coach Scott Bray. “We knew they could hit one through nine in their lineup. We should have been out of the fifth inning trailing 10-6. When you give a team like that four or five outs, they can score a bunch of runs, and that’s what happened.”
Justin Schuler got the start on the mound for Washington. He pitched just the first inning and suffered the loss, allowing six runs on four hits with three walks and one strikeout.
“Justin didn’t get the low strike. He has to get that pitch to be successful most of the time,” Bray said. “When he doesn’t get that pitch called, it makes it tough for him.”
Luke Hasenjaeger pitched the next three-plus innings and calmed things down a bit. He allowed five runs, three earned, on seven hits with three walks and one strikeout.
“Luke threw the ball well,” Bray said. “They continued to hold the lead, but Luke didn’t let them run away from us.”
Hasenjaeger pitched into the fifth inning, but was replaced by Brock Hopkins after two batters. Hopkins ended the game on the mound as the Vikings increased their lead to 10 runs.
Austin Southmayd, a lefty, started on the mound for Howell and earned the win. In four innings, he allowed five runs on seven hits with one walk, four hit batters and two strikeouts.
Donnie Lovelady worked the top of the fifth inning, allowing one run on no hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Washington scored the three runs in the top of the first inning and left the bases loaded.
Sam Katzung had an RBI double and Kyle Summers had a bases loaded bloop single to score two runs and make the score 3-0.
“Francis Howell is never out of a game,” Bray said. “They never got nervous. They’re a very good baseball team.”
Trailing 6-3 in the top of the second, Katzung struck again. With runners at first and second bases, he knocked the ball off the center field fence. The runners were tagging up on the play, so Katzung got just an RBI single out of it to make the score 6-4.
Howell responded with single runs in the bottom of the second and third innings to increase their lead to 8-4.
The Blue Jays scored single runs in the top of the fourth and fifth to make the score 8-6.
In the fourth, Dilan Bollmann had an RBI single to center field. In the fifth, Derek Walters had an RBI fielder’s choice.
The Vikings exploded for eight runs on five hits (three extra-base hits) in the bottom of the fifth.
With the score 10-6 and two outs, the Blue Jays dropped a fly ball in the outfield, which kept the inning going.
Katzung led Washington at the plate with three hits (one double), one RBI and one run.
Pete Coulter finished with two hits and two runs.
Summers added one hit, two RBIs and one run.
Bollmann collected one hit, one RBI, one run and was hit by a pitch.
Brock Hopkins walked, was hit by a pitch and scored a run.
Todd Hellmann and Phillip Straatmann also were hit by a pitch.
“We had a good approach at the plate and hit the ball pretty well,” Bray said. “Even scoring six runs against Francis Howell, we still had some chances that we didn’t take advantage of.”
Dilday was a double away from hitting for the cycle for Howell, finishing with three hits, six RBIs and two runs.
Josh Gwaltney added three hits and three RBIs. Calvin Munson, Zac Perkins, Nic Perkins and Mitch Larkin each had two hits.
Francis Howell defeated second-seeded Holt 8-0 Thursday in the district title game.
Washington’s 12 seniors were Jared Walde, Alex Monehan, Zach Pointer, Mike Reinhold, Andrew Sumner, Derek Walters, Hasenjaeger, Schuler, Hopkins, Bollmann, Coulter and Straatmann.
“Our seniors are a great group of kids who will be tough to replace. They all worked hard and improved from year to year,” Bray said. “Hopefully our younger kids learned from our seniors how to go about your business. When you see teams like Francis Howell, hopefully our kids realize they need to get in the weight room and continue to work hard to get better.”