South Central’s first trip to the Class B state amateur baseball tournament since 2011 was memorable, but the outcome wasn’t favorable.
The Storm dug an early hole in a first round matchup against Northville on Saturday at Cadwell Park, allowing seven runs in the first inning on three hits and three errors, and could not recover.
A brief rally attempt was quickly erased late in a game that featured 31 hits, 29 runs and 13 errors as the Merchants ousted South Central, 18-11.
“The first couple innings really hurt us,” South Central player-manager Paul Taggart said. “Other than that, we fought hard. It was our first state tournament and we did the best we could.”
Northville built a 13-4 lead through five innings as South Central committed seven of its nine errors in the first five frames.
The Storm was not ready to concede the game, though, scoring seven runs in the top of the sixth, sparked by a three-run triple to deep center field by Colome add-on Ben Connot. Blake Boes, Taggart and Tom Grove also drove in runs to pull within two, 13-11.
South Central would not get any closer, however, as Cody Lefforge hit a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh and Kyle Nemec sent a three-run blast off pitcher Aaron Sundquist that smacked the scoreboard in left field for the tournament’s first home run to put the game away.
“We thought we were sitting pretty enough,” Taggart said. “We thought we could bring in (Legion call-up) Aaron Sundquist to keep Blake’s pitch count down to get him into the game Tuesday if we got the win. Unfortunately, a Legion kid comes in and gives up a big hit.”
Nemec finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs, while Lefforge was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Ethan Beyers went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs for the Merchants. Northville faces Clark at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Grove and Blake Hoffman both went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Taggart had two hits and drove in two runs for the Storm.
Taggart gave up seven runs on two hits and four walks in 1/3 inning, while Boes gave up three earned runs on eight hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings.
South Central finishes the season 7-10.