SPIRIT?LAKE - The hopes of a return trip to the State Baseball tournament were dashed Tuesday night for Emmetsburg's E-Hawks. A tough fourth inning would help propel the Blackhawks of Hinton to a 7-3 win over Emmetsburg in a Class 2A Substate final at Spirit Lake.
Emmetsburg's season ends with a mark of 18-12 overall, and also concludes the coaching tenure of E-Hawk Head Coach Mike Brennan, who retired as the E-Hawk mentor with 323 career victories to his credit.
Tuesday's contest started on a tough note for Emmetsburg as pitcher Dillon VanOosbree would give up a solo home run to the leadoff batter for the Blackhawks. A pair of outs would be followed by a batter being hit by a pitch, but the runner would try to steal second. E-Hawk catcher Zach Anderson fired to Aaron Bird who made the grab and applied the tag to end the at-bat.
SAFE?AT?SECOND?- Emmetsburg’s Luke Jackson hits the dirt on a steal attempt at second base in Tuesday’s Substte Baseball game against Hinton in Spirit Lake. Jackson would beat the tag attempt on the play, but Emmetsburg came up short in a 7-3 loss to end their season at 18-12. -- Dan Voigt photo
The E-Hawks would come up to bat in the bottom of the first and drew a leadoff walk for Dillon VanOosbree, who would go to second on a passed ball before Aaron Bird grounded out. VanOosbree took third and as Luke Jackson pounded out a double, VanOosbree would score easily to even the score. However, Jackson would be left stranded at second when Greg Wesley struck out and Zach Anderson flied out to short to end the inning.
In the top of the second, Hinton got to VanOosbree with a pair of hits and a fielders' choice to load the bases. A sacrifice fly to Will Jackson in right field scored a run for the Blackhawks before a walk re-loaded the bases a second time. An RBI?single would push one more run over the plate, but a fly ball to Greg Wesley in left field would turn into a double play when the runner at third broke for home after the catch. Wesley unleashed a rocket to Anderson at home plate to end the at-bat on the play at the plate for the third out.
Now trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the second, the E-Hawks were unable to get anything going offensively in their half of the inning. Wes Schultes would strike out and Jake Kibbie hit an infield fly to first before Joe Jackson was walked, only to be left waiting when Max Dunlap struck out to end the inning.
But in the top of the third, Hinton would run out of gas. A ground out to Aaron Bird at second was followed by a ground out to Luke Jackson at short before VanOosbree induced a strikeout to end the opportunity.
Unfortunately, the E-Hawks got back what they gave out. In the bottom of the fourth, Dillon VanOosbree grounded out to second and Aaron Bird lined out to third before Luke Jackson flied out to center field to end the inning with Emmetsburg still trailing by a 3-1 tally.
Hinton led off the fourth inning by getting the leadoff hitter on base off a dropped third strike, and the courtesy runner would then steal second. A fly ball to center field would follow, but an errant throw on a steal attempt allowed a run to score. Back-to-back walks would follow before a single loaded the bases for the Blackhawks.
On the next play, an error allowed a run to score and load the bases again. A single would score another run before an error scored a fourth run in the inning, prompting a pitching change for Emmetsburg.
Greg Wesley mo ed to the mound and got a sacrifice out and issued a walk before getting a strikeout to end the at-bat.
Now looking at a 7-1 deficit, the E-Hawks would go down in order in the bottom of the fourth. Greg Wesley would strike out swinging and Zach Anderson was called out on strikes before Wes Schultes was thrown out at first after a dropped third strike.
Moving to the top of the fifth inning, Hinton would get a leadoff walk before a ground out, but a single would put a second runner on base. However, the Blackhawks would leave the duo stranded when Emmetsburg got a ground out and a foul tip fly catch by Max Dunlap ended the at-bat.
The E-Hawks desperately wanted to get something going in the bottom of the fifth and got a leadoff single from Jake Kibbie, who stole second as Joe Jackson struck out. Max Dunlap would draw a walk, but Dillon VanOosbree bunted to the pitcher, who wheeled and fired to second for the force-out of Dunlap and the throw to first got VanOosbree for the inning-ending double play.The E-Hawks desperately wanted to get something going in the bottom of the fifth and got a leadoff single from Jake Kibbie, who stole second as Joe Jackson struck out. Max Dunlap would draw a walk, but Dillon VanOosbree bunted to the pitcher, who wheeled and fired to second for the force-out of Dunlap and the throw to first got VanOosbree for the inning-ending double play.
Hinton would start the sixth with a walk and got a runner on base off a fielders' choice that took the lead runner out at second. But back-to-back walks would force Coach Brennan to make his second pitching change of the game, bringing Luke Jackson to the hill and sending Wesley back to left field. Jackson would come in and issue a fielders' choice that put out the lead runner at home to kill a run and Jackson would induce a strikeout call to end the at-bat.
Emmetsburg would continue to struggle offensively, as Aaron Bird grounded out before Luke Jackson singled to left field. Greg Wesley would get on base off a fielders' choice that took Jackson out at second, but Wesley would be left looking for a way home when Zach Anderson went down swinging to end the inning.
Holding a 7-1 lead to start the seventh inning, Hinton would ground out to open the final at-bat, but got back-to-back walks before an infield fly to Joe Jackson and a fly ball to Jake Kibbie in center field ended the opportunity.
Remembering a game a week earlier where they had scored four runs in an inning, the E-Hawks went out in the bottom of the seventh determined to make some noise.
Wes Schultes was walked to start the at-bat, but Jake Kibbie struck out. Joe Jackson would single before Max Dunlap walked to load the bases. An error at second base on Dillon VanOosbree's at-bat scored Schultes and re-loaded the sacks as Aaron Bird came up to bat and drew a walk, which scored Joe Jackson, making the score 7-3.
With the bases still juiced, Luke Jackson went down swinging for the second out. Greg Wesley came up and hit the ball to short, where second base was touched for the force out of Bird that ended the game and the E-Hawks' season.
For Emmetsburg, Dillon VanOosbree was charged with the loss, as he worked three and a third innings, facing 21 batters and giving up seven runs, three earned, off six hits, including one home run. VanOosbree issued three walks and struck out three batters.
Greg Wesley pitched two innings, facing 12 batters, and gave up one hit, while issuing five walks and striking out one batter. Luke Jackson would pitch the final inning and two thirds, facing seven batters and issuing two walks with one strikeout.
The E-Hawks would get a double from Luke Jackson and a double, while Dillon VanOosbree, Jake Kibbie and Joe Jackson all added base hits to the final tally.
As they end the season, the E-Hawks also bid farewell to seniors Aaron Bird and Joe Jackson as they played their final prep games.