Late rally against Hannibal in district contest falls short Wednesday; next game is Friday
MOBERLY ♦ Chillicothe's senior American Legion baseball Cardinals will have to do it the hard way, if they're going to advance to next week's Missouri Zone 1 tournament.
Wednesday night at the Howard Hils Athletics Complex, where next week's zone play also will take place, the Cardinals (10-12) fell to Hannibal 7-3 to drop into the losers' bracket of the double-elimination-format combined Districts 1&2 tournament.
To extend their 2013 season beyond this weekend, the Cardinals will have to defeat either Moberly's Bazan-Bailey Post 6 Sixers (which already is assured of participating in next week's zone play as the host post) or Trenton's Post 31 Bluejays in a 6 p.m. game Friday and then whip Hannibal twice Saturday.
Trenton and Moberly will play their elimination game this (Thursday) evening at 6 o'clock at the Moberly field.
Last night's Chillicothe-Hannibal game saw District 1 member Hannibal jump ahead 3-0 in a hitless top of the first inning and never let the Cardinals from District 2 any closer than two runs back the rest of the way.
The outcome was not sealed, however, until the final batter was retired as the Cardinals made a bid for either a "walkoff" win or a comeback that would force extra innings in the ninth.
Behind 7-1, Chillicothe – helped by an error – produced two runs in the final scheduled frame and had the bases loaded with two outs. In a 7-3 game, that meant Chillicothean Ryan Smith represented the potential tying run as he stepped into the batter's box.
Hannibal relief pitcher Aaron Stone, who had come in for starter and winner Eric Hugenberg two batters before and struck out Justin Fry before giving the bases-filling walk to Trevor Corzette, pumped two quick strikes past Smith, then saved it by getting one more swing and a miss.
Cole Upton of the Cardinals had opened the home half of the ninth by drawing a walk. Brett Perkins hit into a forceout, but then stole both second and third bases. When Troyer's 1-out ground ball to the second baseman was misplayed, Perkins scored the second Chillicothe run of the evening.
Josh Allen got the only Cardinals hit of the last inning, a ground-ball single that moved Troyer to second. When Hugenberg also walked Troy Toedebusch, loading the bases, Hannibal made its pitching switch while still in front 7-2.
Stone got the next batter on strikes, but Corzette waited out a walk to force home Troyer and bring Smith to the plate with the chance – although remote – to tie the game with one swing of the bat. It was not to be, however.