The bitter end to Summit Christian Academy’s baseball season will be remembered for a controversial call that wiped out a bottom-of-the-seventh game-tying run. In reality, the end came much earlier than that.
SCA’s season ended with a 3-2 loss to Knob Noster in a Class 3 sectional game at Knob Noster. It ended shortly after pinch-runner Aidan Satterfield had crossed the plate and pulled the Eagles even before being ruled out for not tagging up at third base.
But well before that happened, way back in the first inning, SCA ran itself out of a two-on, one-out opportunity with a bizarre base running blunder. The Eagles’ first three base runners, in fact, were caught off base.
“We didn’t play a great game, but we played well,” SCA coach John Gage said. “I thought we were going to come back and tie it and probably win it there at the end, and then that play happened.”
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That play happened while SCA, which was designated as the home team, was trying to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the seventh. Dan Clarke started the rally with a leadoff walk, and a booming double by Perry Worden into the gap in left center field moved him to third.
Clarke scored on a wild pitch that turned into a botched rundown, which allowed Satterfield, who was running for Worden, to move to third. Brady Garmon followed with a fly ball to right field, and Satterfield broke from third and beat the throw home. After a throw back to third, the umpire ruled Satterfield didn’t tag up and called him out. Luke Moehle and Eli Rash followed with two-out walks, but the Eagles could drive neither home.
Satterfield said he was certain that he tagged up.
“I even thought to myself whenever he (Knob Noster’s right fielder) had the ball that he doesn’t have much of an arm, so I’m going to wait a second after he catches it,” Satterfield said. “It was unbelievable.”
“I was right behind him,” Gage said. “I saw him tag. I told him when to tag. You can’t blame a game on a call, but it’s sad that a call like that kept us from tying it.”
Gage could blame a bizarre first inning, which started with a Brady Garmon single and a one-out single from Eli Rash. Starting pitcher Will Finch followed with a single to deep right field, but he was thrown out on the relay throw. Gage gave the stop sign to Garmon at third, but Rash kept running from second and both were at third when Garmon was tagged out.
“It was a crazy play because of the relay,” Gage said. “We should have taken an out at third and had second and third with one out.”
Finch helped minimize the damage with four scoreless innings and appeared to be working out of a jam in the fifth before Knob Noster scored two runs on a pair of two-out hits. SCA answered in the bottom of the fifth when Cook hit a leadoff single, advanced on two balks and came home on a sacrifice fly by Garmon.
But Knob Noster (19-5) struck back for another run on two singles in the sixth, setting up the Eagles’ do-or-die situation.
“They were scrappy and had some clutch two-out hits,” Gage said. “”When we tacked a run on they tacked another one on and answered back. And you win ballgames when you do that.”
Gage was certain SCA had tagged on one more in the seventh. They didn’t, and that brought a close to a 20-5 season that saw them win Crossroads Conference and district titles for the third straight year but fall short of returning to the Class 3 state tournament.
“That was just a bummer of a loss, but it happens,” Gage said. “As long as we stay healthy, next year we’ll be right back there battling until the end.”