Showing why it’s one of the hottest baseball teams in the state, Logan-Rogersville eliminated Sullivan from the Class 4 state playoffs.
The Wildcats won for the 20th consecutive time, notching an 8-6 victory over the Eagles in a sectional contest Wednesday at Sullivan High School.
Logan-Rogersville (23-3) hosted Warrensburg (16-6) in the state quarterfinals Thursday night.
“Our kids battled and fought hard, but we came up a little short. That’s baseball,” said Sullivan Head Coach Mike Carmi. “Logan-Rogersville was by far the best team we’ve faced this season. They had a great approach at the plate. There were no easy outs. They were a fundamentally sound team from top to bottom.”
Sullivan (19-7) trailed 8-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but didn’t go down without a fight.
The Eagles scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh and had runners at second and third bases with two outs before the game ended on a strikeout.
“We gave ourselves a chance in the seventh inning,” Carmi said. “We never gave up and battled all the way.”
Seth Mesey was the starting pitcher for Sullivan and suffered the loss. He worked four innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Joey Lochner tossed the final three frames for the Eagles. He allowed two runs on three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
“Seth fought through his four innings. He left a few balls up and they hit them,” Carmi said. “He fell behind in the count a few times and had trouble locating. They eliminated his offspeed pitch and sat on his fastball. Good-hitting teams are able to do that.”
Logan-Rogersville used a pair of right-handed pitchers.
Justin King got the start and worked 6.1 innings before being lifted in the seventh inning. He allowed six runs, five of which came in the first and seventh innings, on 10 hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Tad Mitchell, a sophomore who started the game at third base, took over on the mound in the seventh inning and got the final two outs. He walked one and struck out one.
Sullivan grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run double by Mesey, scoring Jake Lochner and JC Beckett.
The Wildcats scored six unanswered runs to take a 6-2 advantage. They scored one run in the second inning, two in the third and three in the fourth.
The Eagles made the score 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Matt Foster, scoring Beckett.
Logan-Rogersville added single runs in the top of the sixth and seventh innings to increase their lead to 8-3.
Jake Lochner walked and Joey Lochner singled to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Beckett followed with an RBI double to make the score 8-4.
An RBI ground out by Foster made the score 8-5 and Mesey followed with an RBI single to trim the deficit to 8-6.
After the Wildcats changed pitchers, Zach Blanton drew a walk to put runners on first and second bases with one out.
A ground out moved both runners in scoring position with two outs before a strikeout ended the game.
Logan-Rogersville outhit Sullivan, 11-10.
Beckett and Mesey both reached base three times with two hits and a walk. Mesey had three RBIs. Beckett added two runs and one RBI.
Jake Lochner also reached base three times with one hit and two walks to go with two runs.
Cullen Stockley finished the game with two hits.
Joey Lochner, Austin Farris and Foster each collected one hit. Lochner scored a run. Foster had one RBI. Blanton drew a walk.
“Scoring six runs against them, I’ll take that. You can’t expect to score 10 or 12 runs this time of year. There were a few balls we hit right at them,” Carmi said. “Their shortstop and center fielder were very talented and made some nice plays in the field.”
Mitchell had three hits to pace Logan-Rogersville. Evan Gruener added two hits.
“It was a tough loss, but it doesn’t take away what we accomplished this season. We had a 19-7 record against a solid schedule. We were conference and district champions,” Carmi said. “We just ran into a hot team. We have a lot of good seniors who we’ll miss. We’ll try our best to reload next year. We have some talented younger players still in place.”