The Etna Lions baseball team finished its season on Saturday in the NSCIF Division-V championship game, held at Shasta College. The Lions fell to the four-seed Hamilton Braves, 20-1. The championship is Hamilton’s fourth straight. It was Etna’s second trip to the title tilt in four years. In 2012, Etna lost to Hamilton 1-0.
While the final score was quite lopsided, the game was competitive for the first five innings. Hamilton scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, on four hits. Etna’s defense limited the damage with a double play, and catcher Rafael Lopez threw out a base runner attempting to steal.
Peyton Dickinson led off the home half of the inning for the two-seed Lions with a single, but was caught stealing. Robert Thom also singled in the inning.
Two hits, a sacrifice and a walk in the second inning led to two more Hamilton runs, 4-0.
The Braves made it 5-0 in the third on two hits, a walk, a sac and a wild pitch, and 6-0 in the fourth on two hits, a walk and a sac fly.
Etna broke the shutout in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, Wade Thackeray was hit by a pitch. Larry Lampert followed with a single. John Theofanides reached on a fielder’s choice that erased Lampert at second base, but also moved Thackeray to third. A single by Luke Schwall brought home Thackeray, 6-1.
Etna pitcher Kyle Smith, who had relieved Thom in the fourth inning, retired the Braves in order in the fifth. Etna also went down 1-2-3 in the fifth, leaving the score 6-1.
The Braves put together four hits and three walks to score five runs in the sixth inning, taking control of the game, 11-1.
The Lions managed to get a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth, but were unable bring him home. During the regular season, the game would have ended there via the 10-run mercy rule. However, in the championship game, the trailing team has the option to continue.
“They asked me if we wanted to quit. I said ‘no way.’ We hadn’t worked that hard and come that far to throw in the towel early. The seniors deserved to get one more shot at the plate. The fans deserved watching us play after traveling down,” said coach Robbie Munson. “I didn’t see us coming back by any means. I just wanted the boys to try to have fun and go the distance after the great season we had.” (more…)
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