MIESVILLE – Down 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Miesville needed to find some offense in order to stave off elimination in the Section 1B playoffs. Dundas, holding a one-game lead in the best-of-three series, opened the scoring a half-inning earlier, and only needed to hold off the Mudhens to advance to the next round.
A team that struggled to get the big hit all season, Miesville had to respond, and the Mudhens did just that with Aaron Stein’s RBI double, and Spencer Merle’s RBI groundout following Alex LaShomb’s solo shot to lead off the inning.
But the Dukes were not to be denied, taking the lead on a two-run home run by Carson Jones, and knocking out Miesville, 5-3, Wednesday evening at Jack Ruhr Field.
The fourth inning aside, the game was a microcosm of the Mudhens’ season. In all, Miesville left 12 runners on base, including two each in the first, fourth, sixth and seventh innings. And of those 12, eight were in scoring position when the inning ended.
“It’s kind of been our hump all year, we haven’t been getting big hits when we need to,” said Miesville center fielder/manager Matt Van Der Bosch. “Runners on third, less than two outs, we have to find a way to score. It’s kind of been our Achilles’ heel all year. We haven’t been successful in those situations. (Dundas) did a good job pitching and keeping us off balance, but we’ve got to come up with those big hits. And we just didn’t do it.”
Dundas wasn’t much better, leaving nine men on base, but only four were on second or third. Miesville starter Andrew Yetzer was solid through six innings, giving up two runs in the fourth on and RBI double from Mike Ludwig, and a sacrifice fly from Drew Sathrum.
But things unraveled in the seventh as two outs sandwiched a single from Steve Loos. That brought Jones to the plate, and he silenced the majority of the crowd, and doubled over Yetzer, with a towering shot over the scoreboard in left field.
The cheers that had lingered since LaShomb cleared the trees in left-center field were replaced by raspy shouts to find another run.
“(Yetzer) was cruising through that inning, and he hung a curveball. That’s just baseball,” Van Der Bosch said. “(Stuff) happens like that.”
Yetzer came out after the seventh, giving up four earned runs on eight hits and three walks to go with six strikeouts. Eric Olson pitched the final two innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and a strikeout.
LaShomb paired his home run with a single in the seventh, while Jordan Lugowski also finished 2-for-3.
Dundas’ Jones had a single as well as his go-ahead moon shot, while Pat Wadzinski finished 3-for-4.
In a season that started with some unexpected departures – from moves to retirement – the year came to a halt on Wednesday, short of the chance to play in the state tournament. But a younger, newer crew found time to play together, something Van Der Bosch hopes to see more of next summer.
“This year was tough because a lot of stuff happened last minute,” Van Der Bosch said. “Three or four of our main position starters either retired or moved away type of thing. So this year, we had a lot more time to kind of figure out where we’re needing help and we’ll go after it that way.”