Pleasant Ridge ends MHS year
McLouth has been no stranger to close ball games this season.
Last Wednesday at Oskaloosa, McLouth had a shot at winning another nail-biter against Pleasant Ridge in its Class 3A regional semifinal game.
A late Pleasant Ridge scoring spree, however, vaulted the Rams into the championship game and sent McLouth home with a 10-6 setback.
McLouth split with Pleasant Ridge earlier in the season, but couldn't get past the Rams and move into the championship game against Oskaloosa. Pleasant Ridge went on to defeat Oskaloosa, 6-2, and secured its first state berth in baseball with the victory.
"We played respectable," MHS coach Chad Brown said. "I definitely was pleased with how we played."
Pleasant Ridge opened up a 6-2 lead heading into the top of the third. McLouth had the bases loaded in that inning, but couldn't convert base runners into runs. In the next inning, however, the Bulldogs plated three runs, cutting the lead to 6-5. Boone Sorrell sparked the Bulldogs that inning with a two-out single that scored two runs.
In the bottom of the fifth, with Sorrell on the mound, McLouth still trailed by a run, but Pleasant Ridge threatened with a lead-off double. In the next at-bat, however, a lined shot came right back to Sorrell at the mound. He caught the ball and then threw to second for a double play.
"I think he was hoping to not get one off the kneecap," Brown said with a chuckle.
Sorrell kept the Bulldogs in the game until the sixth when he gave up four PRHS runs.
Overall, Sorrell held the Rams in check. Although he had a rocky start, Sorrell settled down in the middle innings and put McLouth in position for a victory.
"He likes to mix it up in there," Brown said. "His gift is to fool hitters. He gave us an opportunity to win."
McLouth will lose two seniors to graduation from this year's squad, which finished the season at 6-14. Joel Dickerson and Joey Lawson played in their final games in McLouth uniforms.
"You're talking about one of our leading RBI guys," Brown said, referring to Dickerson. "Joey is arguably our best pitcher.
"They set the bar a bit higher."
McLouth appears headed in the right direction. At one point in the season, the Bulldogs were 5-7. And the six wins marks the most by a McLouth team since it added baseball just a few years ago. Brown said his team's attitude since he's been at McLouth has changed the most this year.
"We didn't care about who we played," Brown said. "We cared about ourselves."
The Bulldogs, who have orchestrated some late-inning heroics this year, had the bases loaded in their final at-bat against Pleasant Ridge. MHS scored a run, but couldn't tack on anymore for one last rally.
Regardless, Brown was proud of his team's effort against Pleasant Ridge.
"That's hearts and guts right there."
McLouth 020 300 1 -- 6 10 2
Pleasant Ridge 420 004 x -- 10 10 1
Pitching: PRHS -- Smock (WP) 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 K, 2 BB; Barnes, 3 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 K, 4 BB. MHS -- Sorrell (LP), 5 2/3 IP, 10 H, 3 K, 6 BB; Lamborn, 1/3 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB.