SPIRIT LAKE - It's never the ending any team wants, but it happens all too often.
Playing well the last couple weeks, Estherville Lincoln Central was looking to make a tournament run. But the Midgets couldn't come up with the hits against Sioux Central's Tim Saunders and lost 2-0 to the Rebels on Saturday.
"I knew it was a scary game going in," said ELC coach Lee Evans. Upsets happen all the time, especially in baseball.
The Estherville Lincoln Central Baseball Team gathered one final time for the 2013 season following the Midgets’ loss to Sioux Central in the Class 2A district game in Spirit Lake on Saturday.
EDN photo by David Swartz
"Their pitcher had three pitches working tonight and his changeup was outstanding," he said. "The kids were a little over anxious and expanded the strike zone more than we should have."
ELC managed just two hits off Saunders, a one-out single by Adam Reiter in the fourth inning and a two-out single by Tyler Swanson in the seventh inning."
ELC's best chance to score came in that fourth inning after Reiter stole second base and went to third on passed ball. With two outs, a walk to Matt Burrell had runners at the corners. But Tucker Milburn flew out to shortstop to end the threat.
In the sixth inning, ELC's Billy Snyder reached on a one-out error by Sioux Central-the Rebels lone fielding mistake of the night. But both Reiter and Derek Nieland flew out to center field to end the threat.
Saunders finished with just four strikeouts in the contest with two walks. However ELC batters popped out nine times. The rest of ELC's hits went right at the Rebel defense. Burrell had drawn a leadoff walk in the second inning, but Sioux Central turned the double play when Milburn hit a grounder to the shortstop.
Meanwhile, Sioux Central scored the game's only two runs in the fourth inning.
Colton Miller hit a one-out single and went to second on a sacrifice by Mac Prior.
ELC starter Tyler Swanson then gave up his first walk of the night to Kash Buse and then was called for balk. Designated hitter Ryan Etherington then came up with a tow-RBI single.
That was the only inning the Rebels had a runner on third base. ELC's defense played well in the fifth as Sioux Central's Evan Balder drew a leadoff walk. When Franky Perkins tried the sacrifice bunt, Swanson hopped off the bound and got Balder at second. Courtesy runner Kal Swanson was then thrown out trying to steal second base. Cleanup batter Nick Sievers then grounded out to first baseman Bryce Hansen.
Swanson took the loss. He struck out seven while giving up five hits and two walks.
"I thought we had a great week of preparation," said coach Evans. "We just couldn't produce any runs."
ELC says farewell to eight seniors: Adam Reiter, Derek Nieland Matt Burrell, Tucker Milburn, Tyler Swanson, Evan Hansen, Bryce Hansen and Justin Frederick.
"These are a great group of kids," said Evans. "it's always tough for in the last game of high school."
ELC ends the season with an 11-15 record. Sioux Central (6-23) will play North Union at 5 p.m. today in Spirit Lake.
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WP Saunders. LP Swanson.