West Holmes

Philly’s comeback and then extra inning win sends Knights packing

The number nine seeded Knights didn’t have to travel far for their Division II district semi-final game against New Philadelphia on May 16. West Holmes and the Quakers, the number three seed in the bracket, met up at Lehaman Field at Hiland High School for a chance to move on to the district final, a game in which the Knights have reached four of the last five seasons.

In the top of the fourth inning everything was hunky-dory for the Knights when their senior first baseman Trevor Kiner launched a two-run homer to left field. (video) Kiner’s wallop put the Knights up 3-0 with Jake Donaldson cruising on the mound through three innings.

“Everything was going our way, he jacked that ball out and everyone got excited,” said West Holmes coach Bill Pim.

However in the bottom of the fifth with the Knights leading 4-1 the Quakers got a two-out RBI single from Coby Hutchison that scored two runs and cut the Knights’ lead to one. T.J. Enos then doubled home Hutchison to tie the game at 4-4 which chased West Holmes’ starter Donaldson from the game.

The game would head to extra innings with the scored still knotted at four a piece after seven innings thanks to a pair of quality relief pitching efforts.  New Philadelphia’s Logan Morehead went five innings and had it working, not allowing a Knights’ hit in relief of the Quaker’s starter Jeremy Long.

On the other side, freshman Kendrick Wagler gave the Knights four innings of scoreless baseball before walks and a misplayed ball in left field doomed the Knights.

Wagler struck out the lead-off hitter in the ninth, but next gave up a single to Long. Colton Thomas then reached on a ball that look like it was going to be caught and then fell for a hit in left field putting runners on first and second with one out. Wagler got John Marshall to pop out to short, but walked Hutchison to load the bases with two outs. Enos then drew the bases loaded walk on four pitches in the bottom of the ninth for the Quaker’s walk-off 5-4 win.

New Philadelphia will now head to the district final with of record of 13-11 and will face St. Clairsville (17-2) May 18 at Muskingum University. St. Clairsville beat Maysville on Monday 6-0 to move on to face the Quakers.

The Knights finish the season with a record of 8-14.

TWO OUT TORTURE

Not only was the walk-off walk painful to watch for the Knights it also was just another run that New Philly scored with two outs. In fact all five of the Quaker’s runs came with two outs. That’s a back-breaking way to fall out of the tournament.

LEAVING DUCKS ON THE POND

In the Knights’ previous game against Ashland, they left 15 runners on base. Against The Quakers on Monday it didn’t get much better. West Holmes left a total of 13 runners on base, loading them up in the first and fifth innings, but only score one run in those two frames.

“We squandered a lot of chances,” said Pim. “We only got one run in the fifth after loading the bases.”

In that fifth inning the Knights got a bases loaded walk of their own to scored their fourth run, but the next hitter Erik Hanna hit a bullet right back to the pitcher which turned into an easy double play. (video)  Morehead then got Brendon Kandel to ground out to end the inning.

Again in the sixth the Knights got two on base with two outs and Donaldson hit a shot to center that looked like a sure hit.  Unfortunately for Donaldson and the Knights, Quaker’s center fielder Zander Ricklic made diving catch web gem-style catch to end the inning. (video)

“I was looking for the ball to be rolling past him and he actually had it in his glove,” said Pim about the nice play.

NUMBERS GAME

Trenton Yoder had the only multi-hit night for West Holmes.  He had a pair of singles and an RBI.

In 4 2/3 innings of work Donaldson allowed two earned runs, struck out five, allowed eight hits and walked one.  Wagler pitched the rest of the way striking out three, walking three and allowing just one run.

Kiner’s dinger was the first of the season for the dangerous lefty in what ended up being his last career game.

In relief Morehead hit more Knights batters, two, then hits he allowed.  In his five innings of relief he struck out two, allowed no hits and walked one while picking up the victory.

RAH RAH SENIORS

Seniors Mitch Tyson, A.J. Race, Alex Young, Coven Mullet, Isaac Hoxworth, William Hughes, Kandel and Kiner all saw their baseball season and careers come to an end with the loss to New Philly.  Starters Race, Tyson and Kiner all pitched in with big efforts throughout the season to keep the Knights in the conference title race and were instrumental in leading the team to the district semi-final.

“Baseball future is bright at West Holmes and we have a lot of young kids, but I also feel bad for our seniors. They took this year as far as they could.”

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