ROCKVILLE — After taking care of business pretty easily in Monday’s Class 2A Sectional 44 semi-final, (12-1 win over Cloverdale) Southmont baseball punched its ticket to the sectional championship game where they would meet the host Parke Heritage Wolves. The Mounties and the Wolves would meet for the second time this season, the first came on the first game of the season where the Wolves walked it off in a 10-9 victory over Southmont. This time the game would have a similar feel and would come down to the final batter as the Mounties had the bases loaded trailing 9-8 and down to their final out. However a lazy fly ball drifted into center field off the bat of Nick Scott and was caught as the Mounties were denied a sectional title and would see the Wolves celebrate a sectional title on their home field.
Southmont couldn’t have asked however for a better beginning to the game. In the top of the second, back-to-back walks gave the Mounties runners on first and second with nobody out. Dylan Howell would then reach on a perfectly placed bunt and the Mounties were in business with the bases loaded. In stepped junior Adam Cox who laced a line drive double to left center field which cleared the bases as Cox gave the Mounties a 3-0 lead. Fast forward to the top of the fourth where Southmont added two more runs as Howell scored on a wild pitch and Scott would single home Cox. Everything was looking good for the Mounties as they took a 5-0 lead.
Then came the inning the Mounties will want to forget. Parke Heritage scored eight runs aided by four Southmont errors to turn the game on its head and take an 8-5 lead. The batter sequence went as follows. Single, single, error, single, error, sac fly, hit by pitch, error, error, walk, single, walk.
Despite giving up the big inning the Mounties responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth as Howell singled home Carter Hubble and Ryan Bowman to make it 8-7.
The two teams would each score one more time setting up the Mounties for one last chance in the top of the seventh.
It looked as if the Mounties were going to go down quietly as they quickly recorded two outs. Stepping up with three hits already in the game, Adam Cox smacked a ball over the left fielders head and stood at second base representing the tying run. With Connor McKinney in the batters box and down to his final strike, he was hit by Wolves pitcher Anthony Wood. Mason Hall stepped in looking for the big hit Southmont needed, but Wood again struggled with his command and hit Hall to load the bases. While Scott couldn’t come through with the potential-game winning hit, Mountie coach Brad Wininger was still proud of his team for the way they battled and made it a thrilling finish.
“I was really happy with how they continued to stay in it,” Wininger said. “We’ve continued to hit the ball well and made them sweat it out. We let them have that big inning and unfortunately just fell to pieces a little bit in the infield. A lot of things that happen during the season are a microcosm of what will happen in the sectional and it just came back to bite us.”
The good news for the Mounties is they will be bringing back every key piece from this past season. The team will feature nine seniors and many other juniors. While the Wolves have gotten the better of the Mounties the last two seasons in the sectional Wininger loves the potential that the Mounties have going into next season.
“I told them that it’s going to be our turn next year,” he said. “The last two years we’ve really started playing out best at this time of the season. We’ll have everyone back and hopefully be able to break through.”
The Mounties end their 2022 season with a 6-18 record.
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