Sherwood baseball coach Preston Steinhoff knew his team faced long odds Monday. The Marksmen faced a Summit Christian Academy team that run-ruled them about three weeks earlier. And they had to face them with seven players, four of them starters, away on a senior trip.
So taking that all into consideration, Steinhoff found it hard to get upset after Sherwood’s season ended with a 7-0 loss in the semifinals of the Class 3 District 14 tournament at SCA. The Marksmen finished 4-16, but they ended the season hanging tough for a while against last year’s Class 3 state runners-up.
“The last time we played them they were up 10 runs by the third inning,” said Steinhoff, whose team reached the semifinals by beating Barstow 11-1 in the first round. “So to be able to compete with them throughout the entire game … I’m very proud of the boys for doing that.”
Unlike that 10-0 loss back in April, Sherwood was plenty competitive in the early going, especially when SCA and starting pitcher Eli Rash came out a little shaky in the first inning. Sherwood’s Nick Miles led off with a high pop-up into a gusting wind that eluded SCA shortstop Matthew McWilliams. Rash issued a one-out walk to Sam Clark, and a stolen base and a wild pitch put runners on second and third.
Rash ended the threat with two strikeouts and settled in to retire the next eight Marksmen he faced. He finished with nine strikeouts while allowing just three hits and a walk over six innings.
“I wasn’t throwing strikes at first,” said Rash, a right-handed junior. “The reason why I started out better in the later innings was because I was throwing strikes. It’s just sometimes you start slow.”
SCA took a 1-0 lead in the second when Perry Worden singled home Russell Cook, and the Marksmen stayed within striking distance until an odd third inning that saw SCA score four runs on three hits, a wild pitch and three hit batters. Rash had the oddest moment when he took a pitch from Miles to the forearm that was initially ruled a foul ball.
Rash, who said the pitch clearly hit him before it hit the bat, got his base after the umpire had a long talk with Gage and huddled with the other umpire.
The inning, and the game, unraveled for the Marksmen after that. Miles hit Will Finch in the back with the next pitch he threw, and McWilliams followed with a two-run single to left. Cook singled home Finch for another run and McWilliams scored on a third-strike wild pitch.
“One call didn’t go our way,” Steinhoff said. “Summit Christian’s a good team and we needed everything to go our way today.”
Summit Christian, 20-4, claimed the district title the next day with a 3-1 victory over Holden. SCA starter Will Finch held Holden to two hits and two walks with 13 strikeouts. Matthew McWilliams hit an RBI-double in the first inning and a two-run double in the third inning for SCA, but Holden starter Nathan Hedglin didn’t surrender a hit after third.
Belton bows out
Belton’s season came to an end with a 4-1 loss to Lee’s Summit West in the first of the Class 5 District 13 tournament at West.
Lee’s Summit West broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the fourth inning on a single by Ben McClain and a two-RBI double by Sam Breshears. Trevor Kardell homered in the bottom of the third for the Titans.
Belton took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI-double from Andrew Clark.
West pitchers C.C. Crain and Alex Stanghor combined to hold Belton to four hits and five walks while striking out eight. The Pirates ended their season with a 12-17 record.