The Trojans (18-9) won as many as nine straight games and lost five of six during the regular season. So, it was only fitting that they ended their postseason in an equally uneven performance in a 13-4 loss to Seneca East in a Division IV district semifinal that was filled with much more drama than the score suggested.
With ace pitcher, Isaiah Seidel on the mound, the Trojans appeared well on the way to advancing to the district final after South Central led the Tigers, 3-0, after four innings. Seidel had allowed just one hit and struck out eight Seneca East batters.
Things changed in a hurry in the fifth when Carter Lacy hit a two-out blooper that fell just out of the reach of Curtis Fredericks’ glove. That set up Richie Lacy to drive in a pair of runners on a double. To make matters worse, a throwing error went out of the field of play, and Richie Lacy was awarded home plate to tie the game at 3-3. Seidel regained control a batter later when he struck out Jake Hall looking.
"Credit Seneca East for making the plays that they did," South Central coach Ty Dendinger said. "It wasn't because of effort or that our guys didn't play hard enough or anything like that. They just made more plays than what we did today.
“Things just didn’t go our way,” he added. “You got a hit to extend an inning that we didn’t get a good enough jump on and then a few errors,” he added. “They didn’t take things for granted and didn’t quit until it was over.”
South Central was able to answer the initial punch thrown by Seneca East when Tycen Cooper drove in Simon Blair to retake the lead in the fifth before falling behind 5-4 heading into the sixth. The Trojans looked as if they were set to once again answer Seneca East in the home half of the inning until one an odd play turned the game for good.
After rounding second base, Philip Madison was caught in no-man’s land thanks to the heady play of Richie Lacy, who decided to run toward him rather than give Madison the opportunity to get back to base safely. It gave him nowhere to run but to third base and they proceeded to throw him out to end the inning and kill South Central’s bid at a rally.
From that point on, the Trojans fell apart in an error-filled inning that saw the Tigers (16-11) bat around the order and plate another eight runners to advance to the championship game vs. St. Paul (19-7) today.
”The game doesn’t turn on just one play,” Deninger said. “He is a young guy that made a running error, but (Lacy) made a smart play that ended the inning. There were other chances that we had throughout the game.
“It’s tough to lose like this,” he added. “Anytime you have Isaiah pitching, you know that he is going to bring it and give you a good chance to win. He had 112 strikeouts or something like that and it is fun to watch him pitch on the mound. In my opinion at least, he is an All-Ohio pitcher, and you hate to see him end the season like this.”
Sam Seidel led the game off with a walk and scored the first run off a Simon Blair double in the first inning. Blair went on to score later on in the inning when Isaiah Seidel plated him with a sacrifice fly. In the third, Isaiah Seidel added to the lead when he scored off a wild pitch to give the Trojans what at the time looked to be an insurmountable lead.
Blair led South Central by going 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Blair, Isaiah Seidel, Madison, Cooper and David Lamoreaux combined with a hit a piece to account for the Trojans five hits in the game.
Isaiah Seidel pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs (four earned), struck out 13 batters, and walked one.
Seneca East 000 032 8 — 13 10 1
South Central 201 010 0 — 4 6 7
WP: Richie Lacy; LP: Seidel
2B: (SE) Ri. Lacy; (SC) Blair. 3B: (SE) Hall