Prep Baseball Playoffs: Golden Eagles wrap season with loss to Bunker Hill
The Bunker Hill Bears were able to capitalize on a small handful of miscues en route to an 8-1 road victory Thursday and a sweep of the East Davidson baseball team in their best-of-three 2-A West Regional series.
The Golden Eagles (19-7) again ceded the first run of the game for a second straight outing, but battled back to tie the game in the fourth inning. Unfortunately for East, an inning which was teeming with promise ended prematurely when Kenny Shadrick was erased from the base paths on a throw from Bears catcher Cameron Chapman.
Nathan Campbell scored from third on a wild pitch to tie the game as the lead runner, but after a moment of hesitation, Shadrick was gunned down at third on the play. An appeal from Eagles coach Dan Tricarico was unsuccessful, and Campbell’s remained the only run of the inning – and game – recorded by East.
Having escaped the inning allowing only one run, Bunker Hill scored five runs during a two-out rally the fifth to effectively take the wind from its opponent’s sails.
“They’re an excellent team, they played two really good ball games,” Tricarico said. “They really didn’t give us much of a chance. We had a couple opportunities this game – I was real proud of our kids.
“I’ve been coaching too long to blame any kind of a loss on umpires. We had kind of a key occurrence at third base that kind of changed the momentum on us, but that didn’t lose the ball game. They played well. They deserved to win the game.”
Tricarico lauded his players for their efforts in propelling the program to its third regional series in school history and first since it won the state championship in 1999.
“We had a great season. We just came up a little bit short,” Tricarico said. “Good teams like Bunker Hill are going to find ways to win. Our kids did a lot of that this season. But we just ran out of gas a little bit here at the end.”
In the fifth, with the score tied at 1 with two outs, Bunker Hill loaded the bases against Eagles starter Ryan McIntire. Cameron Chapman was hit by a pitch to plate the go-ahead run.
Cooper Wray’s ensuing at-bat ended when he sent a fly ball to right field that ricocheted off the East outfielder’s glove, scoring three runs and allowing Wray to reach second base. Hayden McGraw tallied the final run of the inning with an RBI single that gave the Bears an insurmountable 6-1 lead.
Tricarico said he was disappointed following the game-changing play in right, not at, but for his player.
“It’s not a thing of lack of effort or something where he didn’t play it correctly,” Tricarico said. “It’s just one of those things. Guys get paid millions of dollars to play the game and it happens to them. So, that’s tough.
“But I told our team: I’ve been here over 30 years, and it’s only the third time we’ve gotten to this point. So, they should be very proud. Even though we’re disappointed we got knocked out tonight, we still accomplished a lot. Final four and you start with 64 – I’m very proud of them.”
Cameron Chapman again extended his team’s lead with a two-run homer in the seventh, giving Bear starter Clay Ervin more support than he needed. He recorded a complete game, scattering six hits, while surrendering just one earned run and striking out eight.