Bulldogs out-hit Dadeville 7-4 but can’t come up with key hit to finish fourth at state
With the top-three players in the lineup coming up to bat in the top-half of the seventh, the New Franklin baseball team had to feel good about its chances against Dadeville in the third-place game in the state tournament at TR Hughes ballpark in O’Fallon.
Although Dadeville’s Zane Medley worked through several jams throughout the ballgame while holding New Franklin scoreless, this was supposed to be the Bulldogs best shot in the seventh with Blake Carleton, Tanner White and Tyler Hull coming to the plate.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Medley worked his magic once again by retiring the side in a 1-0 victory.
While the Bulldogs closed out the season at 20-6 overall by finishing fourth at state, head coach Erich Gerding said going into the tournament that he thought his team was one of the deepest teams there.
“We just didn’t get the hit, especially the two-out hit that we have been talking about getting all year,” Gerding said. “It just didn’t happen for us. Give credit to Medley from Dadeville, he did a great job. He kept us off-balance a little bit, we just didn’t make enough adjustments offensively and just didn’t that clutch hit that we were looking for. I think if we get that one hit things really take off for us but obviously we didn’t get it.”
The Bulldogs definitely had their share of hits in the game against Dadeville, just not in bunches. While out-hitting the Bearcats 7-4, New Franklin also had runners on base in every inning but the fourth and seventh.
Nonetheless, Dadeville scored what turned out to be the only run they would need in the ballgame in the bottom-half of the first on a lead-off walk and a bloop single to center to go up 1-0.
As for New Franklin, they wasted a two-out walk in the first and put two on in the top-half of the second after a lead-off single to left-center by TJ Schapira and a double to left by Jerrod Riley. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Medley came back and retired the next-three batters to end the inning.
Medley picked up the complete-game victory for Dadeville but left-handed Tanner White was just as impressive for the Bulldogs while striking out nine batters in the game. He also had five strikeouts in a row at one point in the game.
With the loss, White closed out the season at 6-3 but pitched well enough to win while giving up just one run on four hits and three walks. Medley, meanwhile, faced 27 batters and allowed no runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Gerding said you just had to credit Medley for keeping them off-balance.
“We had too many swings when we were ahead in the count,” Gerding said. “We were ahead in the count but we had a swing like we were behind. Again, that is just credit to their kid for mixing things up so well that we were kind of on our heels a little bit offensively. I liked our chances yesterday and I liked our chances today.”
Of course Gerding really had to like his chances in the sixth after three straight singles by Riley, Dylan Johnson and Zach Evans to load the bases. However with two outs already in the inning, all Medley had to do was get a strikeout, a ground out or a fly out to end the inning. As it turned out, Medley got the ground out to end yet another promising inning for the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, after working out of a jam in the bottom-half of the sixth with two runners on, New Franklin was down to its final-three outs in the seventh. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Medley was up to the task once again and retired the side to end the ballgame.
Medley also had two of the team’s four hits in the game for Dadeville, both of which went for singles.
For New Franklin, Jerrod Riley went 2-for-3 with a single and a double. Zach Evans also had two hits, both of which went for singles, while Blake Carleton, TJ Schapira and Dylan Johnson added one single each.
The Bulldogs also stranded nine runners in the game while Dadeville left only six runners on base.
Gerding said you can talk about the ifs and or buts of the game over and over again but it was still a special season with a special group of kids and special group of seniors who they are going to miss deeply.
“I am excited about the guys we have coming back, too,” Gerding said. “We have a good core group of guys coming back and some young kids who are hopefully going to work their butts off and earn a spot next year for us,” Gerding said. “I am just looking forward to it again. You have to move on and get better and you have to get prepared because now I think probably a little bit of a target is going to be on our backs and we have to be ready for that and be ready to compete next year.”
The Bulldogs definitely have history on their side. While making their 10th playoff appearance, New Franklin is 11-12 overall with one second place finish, one third place finish and now two fourth place finishes.
Note: Cooter, who beat Dadeville 7-5 in the second semifinal game Wednesday night, captured its first-ever state title in baseball by beating the Cairo Bearcats 1-0.