MILLER CITY — Holgate flirted with danger most of the game and host Miller City finally burned the Tigers with a five-run fifth inning en route to a 6-2 victory in the District 2 South Sectional Tournament Saturday.
The Wildcats left 15 runners stranded in the game, including the bases loaded three times. The first time was in the fourth, when Holgate pitcher Jeradt Nagel coaxed a short fly to leftfield to end the threat after intentionally walking a batter to load the bases.
The Tigers also left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning. Brandon Hohenberger started the rally with a two-out infield hit, followed by an error and another infield hit by Micah Bok.
Hunter Gerschutz grounded to short, who threw just in time for the final out of the inning.
The Tigers almost got out of the fifth inning unscathed as well.
After Miller City loaded the bases with one out, an infield fly got Holgate within an out of escaping the threat. However, back-to-back singles by the No. 8 and 9 hitters in the Wildcats’ line-up drove in three runs.
After walking the lead-off batter, another single drove in two more runs for a 6-1 lead.
“Those innings always seem to start with a walk or hit batter,” said Holgate coach Charlie Kelly. “We were able to get out of a couple of jams, but this time they came up with a couple of big hits. They weren’t hit real hard, but they got over our heads, and that’s the game of baseball.”
The Tigers scored the first run of the game in the second inning.
Gavin Kupfersmith led off with a single and Hohenberger followed with a hit. After a sac bunt by Sam Medina, a wild pitch scored Kupfersmith.
Miller City tied the game with a run in the third.
Holgate scored again in the seventh, but stranded runners on second and third to end the game.
“We didn’t square up too many balls,” said Kelly. “We did put the ball in play and the few number of strikeouts is good, but we had a hard time squaring anything up. Sometimes they find the holes, sometimes they don’t.”
Kupfersmith, Hohenberger and Bok each had two hits for the Tigers. Nagel took the loss, going 4 2/3 innings and allowing six runs on four hits, three walks and three hit batters. He struck out two.
Holgate was eliminated from the tournament with the loss.
“We have got a lot of young guys,” said Kelly. “We are going to have to play a lot of young guys in the spring, and some of these guys have some talent. We have to find out know if they want to work for it.”