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Indians open semifinal series with loss to Stephenville

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Indians open semifinal series with loss to Stephenville

PETER STEIN/NEWS-SUN

SEMINOLE – There’s still time for the Seminole baseball team to save its season. But not a whole bunch.

With Thursday’s 5-1 Regional Semifinal loss to Stephenville at Robert Ryan Field in Seminole, the Indians are a loss away from saying goodbye to their 2024 season. With sporadic hitting and some mental mistakes sprinkled in, Seminole endured a loss in the best-of-three series. Game 2 will be Saturday at Stephenville, with a 4 p.m. scheduled start time, and if necessary, Game 3 will follow that.

The Indians were backed into the elimination corner, took a loss on Thursday, in large part because their bats couldn’t get anything going consistently.

“Yeah, we struggled at the plate,” Seminole head coach Chris Gonzales said. “You know, it happens. It was just one of those days where it isn’t in our favor. We’ve got to bounce back Saturday. Now we’ve got to win two.”

It was standing room only at Ryan Field, and not much room for that either. “The atmosphere was pretty crazy tonight,” Gonzales said. “We’re not really used to that, but it was good.”

The Indians used three pitchers – Eloy Macias, Obed Reyes and Alan Madrid – with Macias getting the start. He rang up a strikeout to begin the game, then after walking Stephenville’s Kutter Stone, Macias should have had out number two, but a miscommunication in shallow left field allowed a ball hit by Mason Weyers to drop. With Mason Haynes up, Stone stole third base, and after Haynes walked to load the bases, Jadis Clemmer flied out to center field, allowing Stone to tag and score and giving Stephenville an early 1-0 edge.

Seminole had the tying run in scoring position during the bottom of the first inning, when Brayden Gonzales ripped a one-out single and went to second base on an outfield error. But Stephenville pitcher Wacey Dill came up with consecutive strikeouts to end the threat.

The Yellowjackets increased their lead to 4-0 in the top of the second inning, with Tyler Hicks scoring on a fielder’s choice, Cade Whitehead coming home on a Stone single, and Stone – after stealing second – coming around to score after an errant throw past third resulted from a groundout by Weyers.

The Indians compounded those defensive mistakes with some on the base paths in the bottom of the second inning. After leading off the half-inning by getting hit with a pitch, Reyes found himself caught in a rundown that took one duck off the pond.

“We were trying to extend by getting a secondary lead,” Coach Gonzales said. “We get picked off because we’re not paying attention. I told the guys, ‘You’ve got to be in the game.’”

Up next was Macias, who clobbered a triple to deep center field. But after a brief stay at third base, Macias was called out, because he had missed first base.

“I looked to my first base coach,” Gonzales said. “And he said, ‘Yeah, he missed it.’”

And there went another duck.

There were two outs with nobody on instead of no outs with a run in and the second run just a baseline away from home.

“It was just little mental mistakes like that,” Gonzales said.

Stephenville made it 5-0 in the top of the fourth inning. Stone reached on an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Haynes single.

Seminole’s Eloy Macias delivers a pitch during the top of the second inning of Thursday’s Regional Semifinal Game 1 at Robert Ryan Field in Seminole.

Seminole finally reached the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning. Braylon Mata reached on an error, and after Diego Cortez came on as a courtesy runner, Josh Lopez whacked a double, putting runners on second and third base.

Reyes then laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Cortez slid home with the Indians’ first run of the night, as the throw home sailed off the mark.

Lopez went to third base on the play, but was stranded there when relief pitcher Gabe Elms recorded back-to-back strikeouts.
Seminole had runners on first and second base with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, after Stephen Davis walked and Rowin Donaldson reached on an error. They moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt from Brayden Gonzales, but Elms induced a game-ending groundout, pushing the Indians a step closer to elimination, while keeping them two wins away from surviving to the next round

The loss also snapped Seminole’s win streak at 18, which Coach Gonzales thinks was not necessarily a bad thing because it gives his team a sense of urgency.

“Every now and then,” he said, “you’ve got to get chopped down, just to humble yourself. I think this loss is going to be good for us.”

Gonzales says that Reyes will get the ball first on Saturday.

“The plan is to start off with Obed,” Gonzales said, “and piece it together from there.”

Stephenville 5
Seminole 1
Up next: at Stephenville, 4 p.m. Saturday

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