Baseball can be a game of inches and a few of those inches proved costly for Robinson High School's baseball team Wednesday night (May 22).
The Maroons went toe-to-toe with a talented and highly-regarded Breese Mater Dei team, but came up just short in a 6-4 loss in their semifinal game at the IHSA Class 2A Teutopolis Sectional
"We played a good baseball game against a very good opponent," RHS head coach Reggie Truitt said. "We have to give Mater Dei credit. They're a good team with a tough line-up."
Just two batters into the game, Robinson found themselves in a 1-0 hole, as Mater Dei's leadoff batter doubled on the first pitch, moved to third on a balk and scored on a sacrifice fly.
However, the Maroons had a quick answer in the bottom of the first, as Kade Lassen led off with a single and Brayden Childress followed with a two-run home run to give RHS a 2-1 edge. Robinson then loaded the bases with one out, but were unable to do any more damage.
Unfortunately, the lead for RHS was short-lived, as Mater Dei rallied for three runs in the top of the second to take a 4-2 lead.
Robinson got a run back in the bottom of the fourth, when Childress drew a two-out walk and scored on a double by Landon Roy to make the score 4-3. Levi Hodge would follow with a walk, but Cade Slaughter lined out to center field to end the threat.
Mater Dei was able to tack on a pair of big insurance runs in the top of the sixth, thanks in large part to some close pitches that didn't go the Maroons' way. One in particular came with a runner on first and one out, as the Maroons appeared to have Mater Dei's leadoff batter - Zach Napovanice - struck out on a close pitch. But, it was called a ball and later in the at-bat, Napovanice would hit a ball to left-center field that was just out of the reach of center fielder Ethan Shidler for a double to plate a run. Then, then next hitter followed with a single to bring home another run and make the score 6-3.
Robinson would get a run back in the bottom of the sixth when Lassen blasted a towering home run to left field, but the Maroons were unable to get any closer. The last five batters for RHS were all retired via strikeout to bring the Maroons' season to a close.
Childress led RHS at the plate with a home run, a single, two runs batted in and two runs scored, while Lassen homered, singled and scored a pair of runs, Roy added a double and a run batted in and Levi Hodge and Logan Sexton each had a single.
Slaughter suffered the loss on the mound, allowing four runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out one in three innings. Roy went the rest of the way, giving up two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in four innings of relief.
"Our guys are hurt by the loss, but they'll bounce back," Truitt said. "They played hard and put on a good show for all the fans who made the trip. I keep telling people we have some kids that are a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, three of them are graduating (Hodge, Sexton, Slaughter). They're three great young men and have meant a lot to the whole program."
In Wednesday's other semifinal, Teutopolis downed Gillespie 10-5.
Breese Mater Dei and Teutopolis will play in the championship game of the Teutopolis Sectional Saturday at 10 a.m.