RURAL MILROY - Down 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning against Wilmont on Saturday, the Milroy Irish blew the doors open with a four-run bottom of the fifth inning.
Add a solo home run by Isaac Dolan, and Milroy looked ready to send the Region 13C series into a decisive third game.
"We got the home run to take the lead and I'm thinking, 'We're OK,'" said Irish manager Bob Dolan.
Photo by Joe Brown
Milroy Irish catcher Aaron Antony takes a swing at a pitch during a Region 13C playoff game against Wilmont on Saturday at Irish Yard in rural Milroy. Antony went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, but the Irish’s season came to a close in a 10-7 loss as the Cardinals swept the three-game series.
Milroy blew the doors open on the game to take the lead. Problem was, the Irish couldn't close the door on the Cardinals' offense, and Wilmont sent Milroy packing.
The Cardinals beat up on the Irish's relief pitchers for two runs in the seventh and three runs in the ninth, clinching the best-of-three series with a 10-7 victory Saturday at Irish Yard.
"We just didn't have that closer," Bob Dolan said. "We didn't have that guy who could come in and we struggled with that."
It took just one batter for the Cardinals to make their mark on Saturday, as designated hitter Jay Scheidt belted a Clay Ellis pitch over the 315-foot mark in left field for a leadoff home run. Wilmont tacked on another run in the third on an Irish throwing error to go up 2-0.
Meanwhile, Thomas Albrecht, a draftee from Heron Lake, took command of the game early for Wilmont, holding Milroy scoreless over the first three innings.
In the bottom of the second, the Irish got its first three batters on base, with single from Aaron Antony and Anthony Dolan, while Daniel Frank reached on an error. But Milroy failed to capitalize as Luke Dolan struck out, James Fultz was called out on a failed bunt attempt and Frank was thrown out at second for the final out.
"Just some missed opportunities by us," Bob Dolan said. "With bases loaded, nobody out and we missed a bunt. We missed a suicide squeeze, things like that you need to get down. In a 1-0, 2-0 game, bases loaded, nobody out, you got to get somebody in and we didn't. That hurt."
Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Antony got the Irish on the board, scoring on a two-out single by Fultz.
Wilmont padded its lead in the top of the fifth with a two-run home run by Justin Saufley off of Milroy reliever Phil Madsen, a draftee from the Tracy Express. Out of the Cardinals' 14 hits, seven were for extra bases, with two homers and five doubles.
"They got four guys who can hit the ball extremely well," said Anthony Dolan, Milroy's center fielder. "They got two bloopers that landed right in front of me in center field. That's baseball, it's a game of inches. Two inches more, I catch those balls."
Desperately in need of some runs, the Irish finally got some movement on the base paths, with Dominic Dolan hitting a leadoff double and Isaac Dolan reaching base on a walk. With two outs, Antony coaxed a walk from Albrecht, setting the table for Anthony Dolan. Down in the count, Anthony Dolan drilled a double to the left-center gap, clearing the bases and putting Milroy down just one.
"We had a lot of missed opportunities the whole game and I just wanted to come up and get a hit," said Anthony Dolan, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. "I was fortunate enough to get that opportunity and make that happen.
"When you play a good team like Wilmont, every play makes a difference. I was fired up because I knew we were right back into this game."
An inning later, Isaac Dolan's solo shot gave Milroy its first lead of the contest.
It wouldn't take long for Wilmont to make movement on its own comeback. Steven Kremer lead the seventh off with a single, forcing the Irish to make a move on the mound, putting in Cody Mather to relieve Madsen. With two outs, Jesse Teerink rattled off a two-run single, bringing home the game-winning run.
In the top of the ninth, Saufley, Joe Ahrens and Stuart Rogers each crossed home for the Cardinals to complete the series sweep.
Saufley scored three runs for Wilmont, while Kremer went 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
"Wilmont got some great hits," Bob Dolan said. "They got timely hits and that's what you need in baseball."
Wilmont101 120 203-10 14 2
Irish000 141 001-7 12 2
W-Tom Albrecht, Nick Ahrens (7). MI-Clay Ellis, Phil Madsen (5), Cody Mather (7), Daniel Frank (9), Luke Walling (9). WP-Albrecht. LP-Mather. HR: W-Jay Scheidt, Justin Saufley; MI-Isaac Dolan. 2B: W-Joe Ahrens 2, Jesse Teerink, Steven Kremer, Brandon Schroeder; MI-Dominic Dolan, Anthony Dolan. LOB: W-10; MI-8.