For the third consecutive year, the Wildcats faced the South Warren Spartans in the region tournament with both teams winning one game each against each other. Last Monday morning, it would be South Warren who came away with the 2-0 victory as Franklin-Simpson saw their season come to an end.
The winning pitcher was senior Tyler Martin. He pitched a complete game by throwing all seven innings allowing one hit with a strikeout and a walk.
"We knew it was going to be a close game with them," Wildcats head coach Kyle Gammons said. "We didn't do a good job with (Tyler) Martin's breaking ball at the plate today and it is not easy to hit. We knew that coming in. He's primarily an off speed pitcher and kept us off balanced and as the game went on, his fast ball got better. We couldn't figure anything out on him today."
The losing pitcher was sophomore Dalton Fiveash. He also pitched a complete game going all seven innings allowing two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts with a walk.
"Dalton (Fiveash) is a competitor and pitched one heck of a game today," Gammons said. "He wants the ball in these type of games and if I asked him throw more innings for us, he probably would have. He gave us a chance to win out there and any time you can hold any team to just two runs, you are giving your guys a chance to win this thing. He did everything we ask of him and we did some things to stop more runs from being scored. We just couldn't get anything going offensively today."
Both teams left runners stranded in scoring position in the 1st inning but in the top of the second, the Spartans got on the scoreboard. With one out and senior Caleb Lloyd on third after his triple, Junior Karsten Turner brought him home on a sacrifice RBI fly to left for an early 1-0 lead.
Junior Adam Burns delivered another sacrifice fly for South Warren, this time with bases loaded, in the top of the 3rd that scored senior Sam Gage, making the score 2-0. The Spartans tried to score their third run of the game with runners at first and second, Lloyd hit a single to left and senior Preston Strode threw out senior Trent Rice at home that kept the Wildcats trailing by two runs.
Franklin-Simpson had opportunities to try to manufacture some runs on but South Warren's defense turned double plays in the bottom of the 3rd, 4th and 6th innings that killed their rallies and those plays ultimately led to the finality of the Wildcats' season as the Spartans advance to the semifinal round of the 4th Region Baseball Tournament with a 2-0 victory over Franklin-Simpson.
"It was an all too familiar matchup as usual," Spartans head coach Chris Gage said. "It's unfortunate that someone had to lose in this game because these two teams are such good teams. My players did a good job of playing a pretty clean baseball game and Tyler did a great job on the mound with some great defense. The double play by Caleb (Lloyd) in center field by cutting off the gap and doubling up at first was probably the biggest play of the game for us."
The Wildcats finish their season with an overall record of 20-19 and as 13th District regular season baseball co-champions and tournament champions. They will lose six seniors off this year's team: Jacob Adams, Hunter Crafton, Jacob Curtis, Cole Heinze, Zach Sloger and Preston Strode.
"At the end of the game, there was nothing I could say that would make them feel any better especially to our six seniors," Gammons said. "I told them that I was proud of them competing, kept playing good defense and fighting until the last out and that's what I ask of them every time they are on the field."
SW 011 000 0 2 8 0
F-S 000 000 0 0 1 1
WP- Martin 7 IP 1 H 1 K 1 BB
LP- Fiveash 7 IP 2 R 8 H 4 K 1 BB