Cards’ baseball season ends in region semifinals

Published 2:46 pm Monday, June 3, 2024

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After winning their first District Championship since 2017, the George Rogers Clark High School baseball team entered the 10th Region tournament with high hopes following two days of rain. 

While there was success, it was not enough to propel them to become champions. 

The Cards’ (28-12) advanced to the 10th Region semifinals before seeing their season come to an end with a loss to the Mason County Royals (19-15). 

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“They fought all year, and they’re a true team,” said George Rogers Clark head coach Eddie Brooks. “Obviously, [it’s] not the outcome that [we] wanted, but tip your hat to Mason County.” 

On Tuesday, May 28, the Cards’ play in the 10th Region tournament began with a quarterfinal matchup against Scott (17-19). 

After a scoreless first inning, GRC broke through in a big way to start the second. 

With courtesy runner Gunner Martin on second base following a walk to Brady Davis, Abe Mullins delivered a single past the pitcher. 

On a close play at home, a picture perfect slide by Martin allowed him to get under the tag of the catcher and score for a 1-0 lead. 

Later in the inning, with two outs, speed once again became an asset for the Cards. 

Second baseman Tielor Howie ran out an infield single with two outs in the inning. 

The two-out rally continued as the Cards scoring three more times following singles from JP Gaines and Abrahm Howard. 

Pitcher Haddon Cecil helped keep the Cards’ five run lead in check as he held the Eagles scoreless for three innings. 

However, Scott would have their own rally to start the fourth. 

They cut into the Cards’ lead with RBI singles from Andrew Stretch and Brady Smith, and – with reliever Maddox Campbell entering the game – were in a favorable position with the bases loaded and just one out. 

However, Campbell would keep them off the scoreboard as he forced a groundball – with Mullins throwing to Gaines to record an out at home – and later threw a strikeout. 

From there, the Eagles’ offense went quiet, while the Cards added three more runs to pull away for an 8-2 win. 

Asked of his mindset while entering the game, Campbell responded. 

“Stay locked [in], and don’t worry about the baserunners,” he said. “[I’m] proud of my teammates for staying locked in the whole time and staying together.” 

Two days later, the Cards took on Mason County, who had upset heavily favored defending 10th Region champion Harrison County two nights prior. 

The Cards found themselves in a deficit early on, as the Royals scored four runs in the first inning with four different players delivering RBIs, including a triple by Cray Fite. 

GRC later cut the deficit to 4-1 following a sacrifice fly by Howard that scored Gaines, who had come through with a one-out double in the third inning. 

The Cards ran into trouble in the fourth inning when Mason County made it a 6-1 game following a bases loaded, two-RBi single from Nathan Bisotti. 

Yet the Cards wouldn’t go away without a fight. 

A two-out RBI single in the fifth inning by Gaines scored Kamden McAlpin, and a solo homer from Caden Spicer cut the lead in half in the sixth inning. 

In the top of the 7th, the Cards were able to get runners on second and third, bringing the tying run to home plate. 

However, Royals’ pitching induced a popup to end the contest. 

For his efforts throughout the contest, Spicer and second baseman Tielor Howie were each named to the 10th Region All-Tournament team. 

Following the loss, the team loses a strong group of 11 seniors. 

They are Zach Brookshire, Davis, Gaines, Lochlan Hansel, Caleb Harrison, Caden Matthews, Carter Maynard, Mason McLemore, Jordan Soliz, Spicer, and Warren Wethington. 

Among players returning next year will be Campbell, Cecil, Ben Fulks, Howard, Howie, Martin, McAlpin, Abe Mullins and Chase Wheeler. 

“[The seniors] have come a long way and that’s a tribute to them,” Brooks said. “They had a tremendous year, and hopefully [they’ve] set the pathway for the younger kids to grow and keep getting better.”