Germantown comeback bid falls short against Oxford
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:00 PM
GLUCKSTADT - They had a good run, but Germantown's season came to a close Saturday night following a 7-6 loss to Oxford.
The Chargers (26-8) scored just two more runs than Mavericks (23-9) in two games, but that proved to be enough to advance to a North State Championship matchup with New Hope. The winner of that series will face the winner of a best-of-three series between East Central and West Jones in the State Championship.
A night after Oxford rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to steal Game 1, Germantown fell just short of returning the favor Saturday.
The game started late, and so did the Mavs.
Germantown starter Conner McGraw walked the leadoff man Michael Bianco. Krouse followed with a single, and Bianco went to third on the throw in from the outfield. A sac fly gave Oxford the early lead and advanced Krouse, before Hunter Roth doubled to score him and then stole third when third baseman Ryan Sticker abandoned his post to talk to McGraw and try to calm things down.
Roth scored when Barber's ground ball got past short stop Reed James, and Barber scored on a passed ball two plays later.
"Of the four runs they scored in the first inning, we handed them two of them," Germantown coach Brian Hardy said. "As the game went on, I had hoped those runs wouldn't come back to haunt us, and sure enough they did."
Oxford added two more runs in the second on a single and a pair of doubles from Krouse and McClure, and plated its final run in the third when Sticker booted another grounder.
Meanwhile, Charger starter Hunter Roth, a right-handed sophomore who came into Saturday with an 11-0 record, retired 11 of the first 16 batters he faced. At the end of the fourth inning, Germantown had stranded five runners, committed three errors and trailed 7-0.
The alarm finally sounded for Germantown in fifth. Ross Buckley followed a Reed James single with a triple to deep left-center to put Germantown on the board. He scored a play later when Tyler Shell's hard grounder got past Oxford third baseman Houston Roth.
The Mavs pulled within three in the sixth, when Chance Cotton doubled to lead off the inning and Thames followed with a triple down the right field line. Thames also scored on a ground ball off the bat of Allen, and the Charger lead was down to 7-4.
The atmosphere was electric after Cotton worked out of a runner-on-third and one-out jam in the top of the seventh, and hit fever pitch when Tisdale and Jones led off the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles.
Chance Cotton's fielder's choice ground ball scored pinch-runner Clay, and Jones came home on a passed ball, leaving the winning run at first in the form of courtesy runner D. Lewis with one out.
"At that point, we were starting to feel like Oxford did the night before," Hardy said. "You have an opportunity to win, but you know you need one or two more hits. The thing is, you've already gotten a couple, and the way this game goes, you almost have to have the other team make a mistake to let you back in."
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, when the pressure turned on, Roth took care of business - he got Calhoun to chase strike three and Thames to fly out to right field to end the game.
It was a crushing loss for Germantown, which surprisingly had state title hopes in just the third year of the program. The Mavericks put up incredible offensive numbers, had solid pitching and a group of seniors that Hardy afterwards called "excellent young men."
"I'm going to miss them," he said. "They've been with us since Day 1. They bought into everything we've thrown at them, and never questioned any of it. I know it hurts right now, but I think when they have time to sit down and look back on the season, they can be very proud of what they've accomplished here."
Among those seniors are Ross Buckley, Reed James, Jackson Jones and Tyler Shell, who were each named First-Team All-District. Another, Hunter Hawkins, was honored by Hardy with the team's Teammate of the Year Award.
The other First-Team All-District selection was junior Chance Cotton. Michael Allen, Tucker Calhoun, Ryan Sticker and Reed Thames were also named Second-Team All-Conference.
Hardy said Tuesday he feels like the program made great strides in 2014.
"That was our third season, and in three years we've won 20, 21, and 23 this year," he said. "We're making progress. This year more than any other put us on the map. We talk a lot about creating tradition, and I'm not saying it's been created, but the expectations have been raised. I feel like that, more than anything else, is what we'll gain out of this year."