CALAMUS—What looked like it was going to be an easy first round for the Easton Valley baseball squad turned into a heartbreaking season-ending loss on Saturday evening.
After beating Marquette Catholic 8-0, 5-2 in the regular season meet, some sloppy defense and overall quiet bats left the River Hawks trailing this time around 14-1.
“It’s one of those things where the better team came out on that day and got the job done,” Easton Valley head coach Derek Erwin said. “That’s a good ball club and when we took two from them during the year I knew they were two good wins.”
After plating the first run to start out the game, the River Hawks fell apart defensively in the third inning.
First, a throwing error left the leadoff batter on first. A second consecutive error left two Mohawk runners on base. The third throwing error to first base let in the tying run and left runners at the corners.
A bunt that dribbled down the first base line, no farther than the pitchers mound, was left unfieldeded scored the Mohawks’ go ahead run, putting them ahead 2-1 for the first time in the game. The Mohawks learned from that hit and bunted to the same spot again, getting the same result and loading the bases.
“We can chalk that up to communication,” Erwin said. “We had certain defenses that we go in and it seemed that one thought it was one coverage, and one thought it was another.”
Marquette’s Nate Brinker sent a double soaring into right field to score three and put the Mohawks ahead 4-1.
A hard infield single straight to second base left runners safe and one more run in, and then Marquette’s Brady Templeton singled to score another.
“When you start giving outs things start to not go your way,” Erwin said. “It’s one of those things where it escalated quickly and when you give them that many outs in an inning, they’re bound to start getting some hits.”
An attempted pick off attempt at second base ended up in the grass in center field, extending Marquette’s lead to 7-1 and the fifth error of the inning scored their last. The River Hawks went to take their at-bat down 8-1.
They played a few clean innings but then saw another huge offensive push from the Mohawks. Topping it off with a grand slam from Aza Berthel, the game ended prematurely.
“It’s a great ball club and they came out ready to play and got it done,” Erwin said.
Easton Valley’s one run of the game came in the bottom of the second. Austin Franzen led off the inning with a double and then came around on a double from Carson Fuegen.
The River Hawks will say goodbye to senior Trevor Strain, Arik Daniels and Riley Miller.
“Each one of them contributed in their own way and put in an awesome five years,” Erwin said. “They’re great kids, great young men, and they’ll be missed.”
They finished their 2019 campaign 15-17 after placing fifth in the Tri-River Conference.
“Fifth in the conference, it’s the best year Easton Valley has personally ever had,” Erwin said. “Obviously not finishing the goal we had in mind, but in baseball anything can happen any given day.”
Marquette (16-12) will move on to face the winner of the Calamus-Wheatland and Prince of Peace game. That game is Tuesday in Calamus.