In the Class 5A regional semifinal against Maize, the Salina South baseball team used two-out magic to propel the Cougars to an extra-inning victory.
This time, the magic wasn’t enough.
Senior starter Cole Wassenberg dazzled on the mound, classmate Luke Streit knotted up the game with two away in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough as the eighth-seeded Cougars’ upset bid fell short, losing to undefeated Bishop Carroll, 2-1, in eight innings at Eck Stadium. South ended the season with a 10-11 mark, winning five of the last seven contests.
Wassenberg had a little too much juice to start the tilt, allowing back-to-back walks. Bishop Carroll took an early 1-0 advantage following a throwing error, but Wassenberg dug deep and recorded two strikeouts.
From there, it truly was a pitchers’ duel between Wassenberg and Bishop Carroll’s Jack Ebright. Ebright had trouble in the top of the first, giving up consecutive singles to South’s Mason Lundgrin and Cason Long, but didn’t give up a run.
South’s best scoring chance resided in the third when the Baird brothers, Drew and Charlie, advanced to third and second, but were stranded.
Wassenberg battled his command, giving up five walks. Still, the hurler notched numerous multi-strikeout innings, relied on his defense, finished with nine strikeouts, and surrendered his first hit in the fifth. He was replaced by junior Cason Long, who gave Salina South an opportunity in the seventh.
For the second time in the affair, Streit drew a walk with one down. Jovan Suarez followed, kicking out Ebright, who gave up four walks, in the process. Reliever Brady Bockover replaced Carroll’s starter and struck out the next batter.
With two down, Drew Baird grounded a pitch to the right side of the infield. Bishop Carroll’s first baseman McMillan gloved the roller, but misfired to the late cover at first. That allowed Baird to plate South’s only run.
The good feeling didn’t last long as Long allowed two walks and an infield single, loading up the bags in the eighth. Long blew by a pitch for a strikeout, but Carroll scored the game-winner after a wild throw to home.