UNION CITY — Five unearned runs sunk Mississinawa Valley on Monday as the Blackhawks lost 8-3 to Southeastern in an Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament baseball game.
Mississinawa Valley made three errors in Monday’s sectional tournament opener, which led to five Trojan runs and was too much for the Blackhawks to overcome.
“Kind of been the same story all year long, just carried into the tournament,” Mississinawa Valley baseball coach Max Guillozet said. “We had three crucial errors that in my opinion cost us the game.”
Walks and errors have hurt Mississinawa throughout the season, but MV avoided major issues with bases on balls on Monday, only allowing three walks in the game. But the errors hurt.
“We didn’t pitch bad tonight,” Guillozet said. “We just didn’t play defense.”
Southeastern’s Zach Smith did draw a walk to lead off the top half of the first inning. After a pop up for the first out of the inning, Smith then stole second and took third on a wild pitch.
MV’s first error of the game on a grounder then allowed Smith to score, giving Southeastern a 1-0 lead.
Mississinawa Valley took its first lead of the game in the second inning when three balks helped propel the Blackhawks.
Dane Blumenstock led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on the first balk of the inning. After a Zach Armstrong infield single and a wild pitch that advanced the runners, the second balk of the inning scored Blumenstock and tied the game at 1-1
Southeastern’s Austin Spears recorded a strikeout but then was called for his third balk, scoring Armstrong and giving MV a 2-1 lead.
The Blackhawks didn’t hold the lead for long, though, with the Trojans scoring three unearned runs in the top half of the third inning.
Smith started the Southeastern rally with a two-out hit, which he stretched into a double. On what should have been the third out of the inning, a grounder by Spears was misplayed by MV for the Blackhawks’ second error, scoring Smith and tying the game at 2-2. Then Dean Mohler came up and jacked a two-run home run to center, making it 4-2 in favor of Southeastern.
“None of that stuff should have happened,” Guillozet said. “Noe of that stuff should have happened. I’ve told these guys all year long, you have to play this game between your ears. It’s as simple as that.”
It looked like MV had tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when Cayden Cox drilled a pitch from relief pitcher Andrew Lyons to left field. The hit originally was ruled a home run, scoring Andrew Johns, who had reached base on an error.
But after some discussion, the umpires changed the call to a ground-rule double, saying the ball had bounced over the fence.
“There was definitely a bad call by the official, the umpire,” Guillozet said. “Clearly the ball hit over the fence for a home run. Got a guy standing on first base, should have been a two-run home run and then they called a ground-rule double.That would have tied the game up. You know, when they make calls like that … I mean, they’re still kids; they’re young men. That doesn’t help their situation. It takes them out of the game. It works on these young guys mentally. But it’s the way it is.”
Instead of a 4-4 game, MV trailed 4-2 and had to send Johns and Cox back on the base paths. They both were stranded in scoring position as Lyons induced a pop up to get out of the inning.
The Blackhawks did cut into the deficit in the fifth frame with back-to-back singles from Tyler Connor and Carson Stump starting off the inning.
Southeastern got a fielder’s choice and a strikeout for two outs but walked Blumenstock and Trent Gilbert to drive in a run, making it 4-3. However, a strikeout with the bases loaded ended the scoring threat for the Blackhawks.
Southeastern added to its cushion in the fifth inning. A ground-rule double by Mohler started the inning, which was followed by a single from Austin Snodgrass and a sac fly by Ethan Waymire for a 5-3 Southeastern lead.
The Trojans added even more to their lead in the seventh inning. Trevor King led off with an infield single and stole second. He then scored on a single by Spears for a 6-3 Trojan lead.
With a pop up and a strikeout, MV had two outs in the inning, but Southeastern still managed to do some more damage. Snodgrass doubled to drive in a run, making it 7-3. An error then allowed Waymire to reach base and extended the inning, allowing the Trojans to get an infield single to bring in another run for the 8-4 final score, eliminating MV from the tournament.
“I hate to see it end this way for these guys,” Guillozet said. “I’ve got an awesome group here, and I really hate to see these seniors go.”
Mississinawa Valley has five seniors on its team — Armstrong, Blumenstock, Connor, Gilbert and Stump.
“I’ll definitely miss those seniors because they’re an awesome group of boys. They really are,” Guillozet said.
While it was a frustrating season at times for Mississinawa Valley with walks and errors leading to some losses, the Blackhawks did have some success and earned a home playoff game this year.
“I can’t remember the last time that happened,” Guillozet said.
The five seniors and the rest of the Blackhawks do have one more game, a Cross County Conference match up on Friday at Bethel.
“We do have one more game of baseball to play but definitely would have liked to won this won and went on in the tournament with this group,” Guillozet said.