The perfect season is over.
Salina was held to two hits, suffered from four errors, and was unable to capitalize in a 2-1 defeat to Emporia in the Hooper Showcase championship. The Falcons lost for the first time in 2018, bringing their mark to 19-1.
Both Salina knocks came in the opening stanza. Center fielder Zach Farmer led off with a single, followed by a RBI double by second baseman Brogen Richardson. Pitcher Richard Davis was plunked with the next plate appearance, but catcher Ryan Dix grounded into a double play, ending the frame.
Emporia’s offense wasn’t much better, racking up just four hits. The comeback in the second inning was fueled by four Salina miscues that resulted in two runs for Emporia.
The Falcons’ best chance to tie up the game was in the third inning. Left fielder Layne Haddock was hit by a pitch and pinch hitter Ethan Kickhaefer and Dix drew walks to juice the bags with two down. Third basemen Cason Long placed the bat on the ball, but grounded out to close the inning.
Pitching was on display as both tossers were excellent. Emporia’s Eric Hertlein went 6 2/3, allowing two hits and walking six on 108 pitches. Salina’s Richard Davis threw 80 pitches, giving up four hits with three strikeouts.
Semifinal – Salina 10, Newton 6
Trailing 6-3, Salina exploded for seven runs in the fifth. Ryan Dix was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs. Zach Farmer and Ethan Kickhaefer had two RBI each. Brayden Pavey went 3-for-3 with a run scored.
Quarterfinal – Salina 5, Hutchinson 2
Down 2-1 in the second, Salina plated five runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Ben Driver went 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Farmer, Haddock and Richardson had RBI knocks. Cade Sterrett had four innings of three-hit ball, giving up two runs and striking out eight. Brady McAfee tossed three frames, allowing just two hits and picking up four K’s.