- Val T.
Caston commits 7 errors in sectional loss to Southwood
Rentschler, Stinson have RBI singles, but Comets finish 13-10
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
FULTON — Mo Lloyd homered and drove in three runs, and Jaron Craft singled and had two RBIs at the plate to help the Southwood baseball team beat Caston 12-2 in five innings in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 quarterfinal at Caston Wednesday.
Caston pitchers walked five, and the Comet defense committed seven errors. Eight of Southwood’s runs were unearned.
“We just had a lot of errors,” 18th-year Caston coach Blake Mollenkopf said. “They snowballed, and we just didn’t have that ability to shut the door. You know, pick yourself up by the bootstraps and not let them steamroll. One turned into, and two into three. We just had some issues with it tonight, and they took advantage of it. They had good team speed. They hit the ball pretty solid tonight, and they exposed what we gave them. Credit to them for having a great night.”
West Central edged North White 3-2 in Wednesday’s first quarterfinal and will next meet Southwood at 11 a.m. in the semifinals. The second semifinal Saturday will feature Northfield and North Miami.
Craft also got the win on the mound, allowing five hits and two runs (both earned) in 4 ⅓ innings. He walked three and struck out five. Craft threw 75 pitches, which means he will be eligible to pitch against West Central.
Jaret Denney got the final two outs in the fifth. He gave up Caleb Stinson’s RBI single before striking out pinch-hitter Preston Holderfield with the bases loaded to end the game.
Noah Herd went 2 for 2 for Caston, who finished 13-10. In addition to Stinson, Jackson Rentschler also had an RBI single for the Comets. It came in the top of the first to give Caston a 1-0 lead.
Talon Zeider, Gavin Mollenkopf and Pete DuVall had one hit each.
Lloyd’s two-run shot off DuVall gave Southwood a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish. It was Lloyd’s eighth homer of the season and the 33rd of his high school career.
“He put a good swing on a breaking ball there,” Mollenkopf said. “Our goal was to just make him try to get himself out. I thought we did a decent job. We probably ran into the wrong umpire for our game plan because he didn’t really like that outer-third corner where we were trying to get him out. So we had to come in, and he’s a good hitter. He makes that team go, and that two-run shot was out of here in a hurry.”
Already leading 4-1, they added seven more runs in the third.
Luke Pershing had a two-run single, Lloyd had an RBI single, Micah Smith scored on an error, Craft had an RBI fielder’s choice, Emery Liddick scored on an error, and Quintin Coe had an RBI single to make it 11-1.
Caston was trying to win back-to-back sectionals for the first time ever. They will lose Rentschler and Jonathan Pacheco to graduation, but they have 10 juniors who could return.
“Our expectation is to have a very competitive year next year,” Mollenkopf said. “And a lot of depends on health and how much you work in the offseason, but our nucleus is strong, and they’re back, and hopefully, something like this motivates you to be better. Last year was the opposite of this and winning (the sectional) and going to the regional and ending on a high, and this year, it’s on a low. But that’s baseball. You just have to handle it and keep going. But we like what we’ve got back.”
Southwood 12, Caston 2 (5 innings)
Caston 100 01 – 2 7 7
Southwood 317 1X – 12 8 0
WP – Jaron Craft (4 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K)
LP – Pete DuVall (2 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 1 K)
2B – Gavin Mollenkopf (CAS)
HR – Mo Lloyd (SW)