One run was all it took as the Indians fell to Jerseyville St. Francis Tuesday afternoon in the Regional Championship game. Just three days earlier, it was the opposite story as the Middle School Indians knocked off Staunton to get their seat in the Championship. It has been a long 3 years since the Indians last won the regional championship and the wait will have to last one more year after the 1-0 loss in extra innings. The game was a pitching duel the entire game as the teams combined for only 6 hits and 1 run. The run came late in extra innings after a series of errors. The Indians close the season with a 10-7 record.
The Indians were tied at zero for six innings, as two hits could not bring home a run. The game was a stalemate until the bottom of the 8th inning, when Jerseyville had just one hit but 2 defensive errors from the Indians. The baserunner reached first base on an overthrow and then stole second base on the next pitch. On the throw down, the ball ended up in center field and Jerseyville was just one hit away from winning the game. The Indians intentionally walked the next two batters to have a force play at any base, but the plan backfired as Tavalocci lined it in the outfield to draw the run home.
Eli Fox was on the mound for the Indians as he endured 6 long innings before he was relieved by Nick Price. Eighth grader, Eli Fox got his last start of his middle school career and held Jerseyville to just three hits and zero runs after six innings. Fox finished with 7 walks and 10 strike-outs. The eighth inning was detrimental; Nick Price came in to potentially close out the game. Price gave up 1 run on 1 hit– with no help from the defense, yielding 2 errors in one inning. Nick Price was granted the loss and Eli Fox was granted the no-decision.
The Indians could not get the bats to come alive against Witt as he boasted 13 strike-outs. The Indians were able to connect twice, but neither Eli Fox or Josh Balzraine could cross the plate. Eli Fox finished the game 1 for 3 with a double and Josh Balzraine finished the game 1 for 3 with a single. Jake Vogel was able to grab one stolen base in the loss Tuesday night when he was brought in to pinch run for Josh Balzraine. The Indians combined for 16 strike-outs and just 4 walks which amounted to just 6 other quality at bats.
According to coach Jeremy Smith, “This is right where we want to be. Many teams looked over us this year, but that’s what we like – look were we ended up.” The Indians will lose a handful of starting eighth graders, but the rest of team is getting ready for next year. The Indians finished 10-7 on the season.