- Tiger heartbreak

In a close play at second base last Thursday, a Hartville runner is tagged by Tiger freshman Luke Rasmussen, center, but ultimately is called safe, although Seymour junior shortstop Payton Bryant, left, seems convinced Rasmussen's tag was in time. Seymour fell to the rival Eagles in extra innings.

Just two outs away.

That’s the story for the Seymour varsity baseball team last Thursday when Hartville, believed by most to be the best squad in the Summit Conference this season, visited for the Tigers’ home opener.

After falling behind 3-0 after one inning and 4-0 after two, Seymour rallied to tie the contest with four-run third stanza.

Then the Tigers added two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to lead 8-5 entering the final frame.

“We were close,” Tiger head coach Jason Duey said. “We were an inning away ... well, technically, I guess we were just two outs away.”

But Hartville rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the contest at 8-8, sending it into extra innings.

And in the first frame of extra innings, the eighth, the visiting Eagles scored 10 runs as Seymour’s pitching depth ran dry.

Hartville won the game 18-8.

“It certainly wasn’t a 10-run game,” Duey noted.

Overall, the Tiger helmsman was proud of his young ballclub’s performance.

“With how we started, this could have been a quick exit for us,” he explained. “Going down 3-0 in the top of the first inning, giving up a pair of big home runs, we easily could’ve been 15-run ruled after three (innings) or 10-run ruled after five (innings).

“But that didn’t happen. After falling behind 4-0, we then outscored them 8-1 over the next four innings and were in a great position to get a big upset victory.”

Duey credited Hartville for its comeback win.

“They are a very good team and will finish the fall and coming spring as one of the top teams in the Summit Conference, without a doubt,” he said. “Most coaches peg them as the best team (in the conference), and I would agree with that. They’re a very solid team.”

The loss dropped the Tiger record to 1-1 this fall.

Seymour defeated Spokane 3-1 in its opener three days’ prior.

Leading Seymour’s offensive attack was senior Nathaniel Hosiner, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles, one run scored and two runs batted in (RBIs). He also drew a walk and had one stolen base.

Junior Payton Bryant, the Tigers’ leadoff hitter, reached base in all four of his plate appearances. He connected for two singles, walked twice and scored three runs. Bryant also had two stolen bases.

Senior Brock Pearce scored twice and had one RBI.

Classmate Scott Helms connected for a double, drew a walk and added two RBIs.

Junior Caleb Cook singled and had one RBI, while sophomore Derek Akers singled and scored a run.

Rounding out Seymour’s offensive attack were freshmen Brayden Baker (one RBI) and Luke Rasmussen (one run).

“We’re still striking out too much,” Duey said, noting that Tiger batters struck out 10 times. “Our kids at the bottom of the batting order need to go to the plate with a plan.

“I just feel like we’ve got some of our younger kids overthinking things in the batter’s box. We’re got to be ready to hit and not trying to get too cute about what we’re doing.”

Seymour had four errors in the contest; Hartville had two.

The Tigers’ fielding miscues led to four unearned runs; two came in the first seven innings, with one error being a vital one in the seventh.

“Again, the effort was there ... the fight was there,” Duey said. “We battled. We’ve got a lot of young kids in the lineup seeing their first-ever varsity experience, and we had a very good team on the ropes in the final inning.”

Pearce was the Tigers’ starting pitcher and went five full innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits. He struck out five and walked five.

Junior Bryson Benson pitched two innings and gave up eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits with a strikeout and three walks. Benson collected the pitching defeat.

Cook relieved Benson in the final inning and allowed six runs (only two earned) on four hits. He walked two.

Next action for the Tigers arrives at 4:30 p.m. Thursday when Conway visits.

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