West Side entered Monday night's 1A Region 3 Tournament elimination game playing its best baseball of the season, racking up three recent wins over top-3 ranked opponents.
However, following a six-day layoff due to rain, the second-seeded Eagles lost their edge, allowing nine unearned runs and the the third-seeded Mount Vernon-Enola Warhawks took full advantage, rallying in the seventh inning with five runs for a 10-8 comeback victory.
“We just couldn't find a way to get it done tonight for some reason. I think the six days off hurt us offensively with eight strikeouts,” said West Side Coach Shane Davis. “And our youth really showed in the field tonight with four errors, which are not a good combination in the postseason.
“But we congratulate Mt. Vernon and I am very proud of our guys. We came a long ways this year and are looking forward to the future, a good foundation has been laid, and we will definitely be playing with a chip on our shoulder next year,” emphasized Davis.
With West Side holding a seemingly comfortable 8-5 lead entering the top of the seventh, Seth Brady sparked the Warhawks' rally with a single to right center.
Following two consecutive errors, which allowed Trey Burroughs and Cody Love to reach safely, Davis used a mound visit to calm relief pitcher Bryce Hipp, who first toed the rubber in the sixth and retired the side with relative ease, including two strikeouts.
But, MVE's Zach Johnson pulled a two-run single over third base and into left field, scoring Brady and Burroughs as the Warhawks suddenly pulled within one at 8-7.
With one out, MVE tied the game when Bailey stroked an RBI single to right center, plating the tying run. Hipp fired back with a strikeout before MVE cleanup hitter Adam Caudill, who finished 3-for-4 with 4 RBI, ripped a 2 RBI single through the hole on left side, scoring Johnson and Patrom.
Hipp retired the next batter, leaving Caudill stranded at third and MVE with a 10-8 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Brady, who took over on the mound in the bottom of the fourth with MVE trailing 7-5, shut the door on the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh as he retired the side in order with the help of a good scoop at first base by Love for the final out.
West Side took advantage of four MVE errors in the bottom of the second as Jimmy Thomas, Dalton Treece and Austin Kirkland each scored one run to push the Eagles in front, 3-1.
MVE's Keeton McEntire reached on an error to start the top half of the third and scored on an RBI double off the bat of Hunter Barden, who plugged the gap in right center.
Page 2 of 2 - Thomas, who got the start on the hill for West Side, received help from Kirkland, who made two spectacular diving grabs in center field, including one that robbed the Warhawks of a run while ending the top half of the third.
Leading 3-2, West Side scored four runs on five hits in the bottom of the third as Thomas and Dalton Treece each stroked an RBI double and Brandon Carr drilled an RBI single up the middle, scoring Dalton Treece for a 6-2 lead.
Blaine “Pepper” Hipp singled and scored on a dropped third strike with two outs, boosting the Eagles' lead to 7-2 before Patrom, MVE's starting pitcher, retired the side with a pickoff at third.
The Warhawks scratched away at their deficit, hanging three runs on four hits in the top of the fourth, highlighted by Caudill's two-run double to deep left field.
West Side left two runners stranded in scoring position in the bottom of the fourth and one more in the fifth. Mason Treece led off the sixth with a walk and scored on a two-out throwing error as the Eagles took an 8-5 lead and were looking for more until Brady caught a soft pop-up near the mound and doubled a runner off third base.
MVE pushed across five runs on four hits and two errors in the seventh to rally for a 10-8 victory while clinching a spot in this weekend's state tournament hosted by White Hall.