After Elsberry captured their second District title in three years they were given the opportunity to host a Sectional game on Monday, May 20 against the Canton Tigers and just when everyone thought mother nature was through playing havoc on the Indians baseball season, she reared her ugly head once again last week.
Despite the threat of rain, wind, hail and overall a destructive storm night on the horizon the Sectional game started, but it didn’t get very far. The top of the fourth inning to be exact. After that the game was postponed due to rain and wouldn’t start again until Tuesday at 5 p.m.
According to Coach Shannon Wells, the main difficulty in a situation like this is getting the kids excited about the game again.
“They also had to change their mental approach since we were starting the game in the fourth inning,” said Wells.
Also according to Wells, the only thing affecting his starting pitcher Josh Phillips, “was the layoff allowed his arm to tighten up some and it would take longer to loosen up.”
In “Part One” of the Sectional game the Indians jumped out to an early lead scoring two in the first inning, but by the time the rain came Canton had battled back to tie the game 2-2.
“We felt we should have been hitting them better throughout the game, but they had a solid defense behind them to keep them in the game,” said Wells.
The next evening “Part Two” started and both teams squandered chance-after-chance with both teams getting runners in scoring position but unable to bring them in.
Defensively the Indians was able to get out a bases loaded situation early in extra innings.
“We try to anticipate these situations and work on them in practice,” said Wells.
Offensively the Indians were unable to put runs up late despite some prime opportunities.
“It is always the goal to win the game as soon as possible,” said Wells. “But I felt that had we executed better we should have put some more runs across the plate.”
After Phillips left the game, Chris Hency came on to pitch two scoreless innings.
“Hency is more of a short-reliver, so his pitching two innings really helped out,” said Wells.
In the bottom of the eighth Dylan Howard moved from right field to the mound. After keeping the Tigers from a run in the eighth, Canton got to Howard on the first at bat in the ninth with a walk-off homerun to win 5-4.
“Howard was throwing just fine in the game. He made a good pitch to the kid who hit the walk-off, the batter just got it up into the air and the wind helped punch it out,” said Wells. “I thought both kids did a real good job, especially when they were asked to pitch out of some tough situations.”
Despite a tough season with the weather, Coach Wells stated he thought his team did a pretty good job of handling it. And the seniors will be missed, according to Wells, they are all good kids who helped the team to achieve this year.