FRANKLINTON — In the words of Franklinton coach Jeff Tageant, the baseball gods just didn’t look kindly upon his Demons on Saturday afternoon.
After dropping the first of a doubleheader to sixth-seeded St. Michael earlier in the day, the Demons were defeated by the Warriors in a heart-breaking 2-1 loss Saturday afternoon, ending their season in Class 4A state quarterfinals.
Facing a scoreless tie headed to the seventh inning, Leighton Waitz and Nolan Tiersch drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning for St. Michael.
After wild pitches moved courtesy runner Andy Mayer and Tiersch into scoring position, Evan Becnel blooped a two-run single into right field to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead.
Franklinton (22-6) didn’t go down quietly in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Demons scored one run on Morgan Angelo’s RBI single and had the tying run in scoring position, but were unable to push the run across.
“Our kids are definitely hurting,” Tageant said. “I just told them I thought the baseball gods just were not with us today. We hit a lot of balls right at (St. Michael). We hit balls hard all day long. It was just right at them, and they made plays.”
The Demons couldn’t figure out Becnel throughout the game as he picked up the complete-game win, allowing one run on eight hits, while striking out three and walking one.
“He pitched well,” Tageant said of Becnel. “I mean, he had a shutout until the seventh inning. We just let some scoring opportunities slip through our grasp. We just were not able to get the big hits. It is always tough to lose the last game, but that is not going to stop us from realizing how great of a season we had. This was a special team, led by a special group of seniors that are going to be missed.”
Fighting through injuries, Morgan Angelo nearly equaled Becnel on the hill for the Demons. In six-plus innings, he allowed two runs on four hits, while striking out five and walking three.
“(Angelo) has fought through several injuries this year,” Tageant said. “He was able to come back and throw well today.
“He stayed in the zone and had his breaking ball and slider working. He kept them off balance for a while. But St. Michael got the hits when they needed to.”
S t. Michael 4, Franklinton 1 : A three-run fourth inning proved to be the difference as St. Michael forced a deciding third game against Franklinton on Saurday.
Tied 1-1 in the fourth, Ross Scelfo reached on an error to lead off the inning. With one out, Garrett Hamilton walked and a wild pitch advanced runners into scoring position. Dwain Varisco’s RBI double gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead. First baseman Michael Smith added a two-run single later in the inning to extend the lead to 4-1.
Jonathan Lofton (6-2) picked up the complete-game win for St. Michael after allowing two runs on eight hits, while striking out three and walking one.