FRANKFORT — Capitalization is key. That’s especially true in baseball.
Unfortunately, in Wednesday’s Division III sectional semifinal at Adena, West wasn’t able to capitalize on a chance to blow the doors off the hinges. After loading the bases with no outs in the fourth inning of a tie ballgame, the Senators failed to score.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Warriors learned from their counterpart’s mistakes and scored six runs to take a commanding lead in what was eventually an 8-5 season-ending loss for West.
“That’s our team and that’s our season,” West coach Chris Rapp said. “But what you saw in our team tonight was that we battled back. We kept battling. That’s what I’m proud of most. The kids played hard all year long and you can’t ask for more than that.”
West (8-11) got on the board first when Cade Powell knocked in Dylan Bradford with an RBI single in the top half of the first inning. However, Adena (17-10) answered right back with two runs of its own in the bottom half, scoring on a two-run double via Ethan Kunkel.
Down 2-1, the Senators tied the ballgame again in the second when Austin Arnett sent Luke Howard sprinting home with an RBI single that dropped just over the third baseman’s head.
In the fourth, West loaded the bases with no out after drawing three straight walks. Adena elected to make a pitching change, subbing in Roman Long for starter Jarrett Garrison, and it worked like a charm.
“Jarrett kind of set him up,” Adena coach Tom Barr said. “It’s hard to hit Roman Long but it’s really hard to do it after facing Jarrett Garrison. It worked out well for us tonight.”
Long got the next three hitters to strikeout and fly out to right field twice, ending the scoring threat. He was rewarded in the bottom of the inning when his offense opened the floodgates.
“This has been our season. We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve played some very good teams and we haven’t been able to close the deal,” Rapp said. “We had the bases loaded tonight and weren’t able to capitalize.”
Adena’s Garrett Wilburn put the Warriors on top 3-2 with an RBI single before Lucas Foglesong lined a two-run single into right, extending the lead to 5-2. Garrison logged then logged an RBI, and the Senators committed an error in the field, letting two more runs score.
Before the Senators could blink a 2-2 game had turned into a six-run deficit.
In the top of the seventh, West scored three runs — keyed by a two-run single from Powell — but didn’t have enough gas in the tank to come all the way back.
West’s Cade McNeil took the loss, throwing three innings and giving up six earned runs. At the dish, Powell paced the Senators by going 2-for-4 with three RBIs while Howard and Arnett were each 2-for-3 with a run.
The loss forces the Senators to say goodbye to four seniors in Bradford, Garrett Hurd, Trevor Staggs and Joey Cyrus.
“You can’t ask for more than what our seniors gave us,” Rapp said. “They’ve been with us for four years and they’ve always given 110 percent. The hardest thing to do as a coach is to say goodbye to your seniors. It hurts. But they’ll be around. They stay in the community and we’ll see a lot of them.”
Behind those seniors’ leadership, Rapp said his program got better everyday. The future is bright at West.
“Our JV team played more than 20 games this year and had a very good record, so we’ve got a lot of good things to look forward to,” Rapp said.
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