IRONTON — The 2016 season came to an end for the Sciotoville East Tartans Saturday afternoon, as they were defeated by the Ironton St. Joseph Central Flyers in the sectional semi-finals of tournament play, by a score of 5-4.
The Flyers got out to an early 4-0 lead as they scored all but one of their runs in the first inning. Akia Brown would settle down for the Tartans, though, and pitched well enough to allow them to get back in the game. Brown would finish with just three hits allowed, three walks and seven strike outs.
“Akia pitched really well for us,” said Tartans’ Head Coach James Mahlmeister. “He’s been the winning pitcher in all three of our victories this year. We’ve been hit or miss all year on the mound, but about a week ago he pitched really well against Notre Dame. I think that helped him out today and boosted his confidence.”
Opposing Brown was Flyers pitcher Clay Willis. Willis was terrific through the first five innings, until finally being taken out in the sixth. He gave up six hits and two walks while striking out eleven batters during the afternoon.
Brady Douthat was one of East’s batters who was able to figure out Willis. Douthat went three for four on the day with a double and two RBIs.
“Brady had a great day at the plate. He had been a bit questionable because he had hurt himself about a week ago, but he came in and was big. I hate that he was in the position at the plate that was the last out of the year, he was really disappointed, but he batted in runs and scored runs for us today.”
With no seniors, East will return all twelve players from this year’s roster. Coach Mahlmeister has seen growth and improvement in his kids, despite a three win season that was plagued by a string of bad luck.
“I was going to be happy this season if we just went out and got better and today, we went out and made only one error in the field,” Mahlmeister said. “It was a throwing error and not just a mental mistake. I can live with that. We’ve cut our defensive errors way down.
“We’ve had a tendency to not be able to end the big inning. And it happened again today in the first. But, I am proud of the fact that all these kids stayed with it this year. If they all continue to build on what we’ve done we should be solid coming into next year. We have five pitchers that have experience now, and we will definitely have more confidence and skill coming into next season.”