The end of Tuesday’s Wyoming East-Independence Region 3 semifinal baseball game reflected the six innings that went before.
With one on and one out in the seventh, Austin Canada and Zach Whitten each it the ball hard and deep—and right at outfielders.
That’s how things went for the No. 4 Warriors, who lost, 7-5, to the No. 9 Patriots.
“Didn’t we pound the ball? That’s probably the hardest we hit the ball all year,” said WEHS coach Ron Mayhew. “We hit five line drives to the outfield and probably two or three to the infield.”
But East (21-7) , last year’s AA champion, couldn’t overcome the 5-0 hole it found itself in after two innings at Coal City.
“I thought we might pull it out, but we didn’t,” stated Mayhew.
The Patriots (18-8) hit the ball hard from the beginning, ripping three doubles and a home run on the way to building the early lead.
Andrew Hughart homered after Drew D’Angelo reached on an error in the first.
Brad Huffman doubled into the left field corner and came home on Brian Sexton’s sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Wyatt Adkins had an RBI double in the second and later came home when Hughart doubled to left-center. It was 5-0.
“That’s a good team,” Mayhew remarked.
The Warriors had two outs and none on in the third when they started a rally.
Jonathan Culicerto was hit by a pitch, and Canada punched an infield single deep to short.
Whitten doubled deep to left to drive in both runners and cut the deficit to 5-2.
D’Angelo had a solo home run in the Patriots fourth. Adkins tripled and, after Christian Hedinger replaced Derek Thornton on the mound, Hughart’s sacrfice fly brought Adkins home.
That’s how it stayed until the Warrior fifth.
Culicerto walked on a full count with out in the inning.
Canada singled to left, and the runners moved up on a throwing error.
Whitten singled a 3-2 pitch to left, and brought in his third and fourth RBI of the day.
Hedinger singled to score Whitten, slicing the margin to 7-5.
Hedinger shut out the Patriots in two and two-thirds innings of work, but East was unable to score again.
Lusk singled to open the East sixth, but a double play erased the run.
Sexton went the distance and got the win. Thornton pitched three and one-third amd took the loss.
Whitten had two hits and four RBI. Canada had two hits and scored twice. Hedinger singled and drove in a run. Thornton had a double.
Mayhew praised his seniors.
“They’re terrific guys,” he commented. “They’ve been with me for four years. That’s a lot of games and a lot of practices.”
Indy played PikeView Thursday in the regional final.
Game notes: This marks the fourth straight year East had won at least 21 games … The Warriors are 1-3 against Independence in post-season contests.
Photo: Senior catcher Zach Whitten of Wyoming East works behind the plate during Tuesday’s regional semi against Independence at Coal City.