BLUFFTON — Every baseball game has its share of “What if?” moments.
For Shawnee in its 3-2 loss to Lexington in a Division II district semifinal baseball game Thursday, most of those moments came on the base paths.
In the span of two innings, the Indians had a runner caught off third base on a grounder back to the pitcher, another thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple, and a third tagged out at home on a squeeze play.
“Base running hurt us. We ran ourselves out of a big inning twice. We had enough hits, the pitching was decent enough,” Shawnee coach Scott Newman said.
Lexington (22-4) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run single by Logan Bastin.
Shawnee starter Cory Wilder (seven strikeouts, five walks) threw 39 pitches in the first inning and 119 overall in the five innings he was on the mound.
That workload was exactly what Lexington was hoping for, the Minutemen’s coach Jeff Strickler said.
“Coming in, with that pitcher, our goal today was to make him throw a lot of pitches and he did,” he said.
Lexington pushed its lead to 3-0 in the third inning when Zach Sterry and Brody Basilone walked and Bastin delivered another run-scoring single.
Shawnee (14-9) cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the fourth inning.
Cody Fullenkamp started that inning with a single and Wilder followed that with a double. But when Fullenkamp was thrown out at the plate on a roller back to the right of the pitcher’s mound, the only run the Indians got came when Wilder scored on a wild pitch.
In the fifth, Casey Mulcahy doubled to start the inning but was thrown out trying to turn it into a triple. After Trevor Anderson reached base on an error and Jake Sevitz walked, Tyler Anderson doubled to cut Lexington’s lead to 3-2.
A squeeze bunt play nearly tied the game, but Lexington catcher Sterry, an Oakland University recruit, grabbed the ball and tagged a sliding Sevitz out at the plate.
At least that’s the way the umpire saw it. Newman disagreed.
“We obviously saw it differently but we saw it the same about where he got tagged,” Newman said.
The Shawnee coach said the umpire told him Sevitz was tagged high on his body. In Newman’s mind, that meant he had already made contact with the plate before being tagged.
Shawnee had one final threat in the top of the seventh against Lexington relief pitcher Evan Lee when Tyler Anderson and Fullenkamp singled with two out, but Lee retired Wilder on a fly ball to right field.
Lexington will play Wapakoneta at 2 p.m. in Saturday’s district championship game at Bluffton.
Shawnee vs. Lexington