For the third consecutive year, the Oran Eagles baseball team has had its season ended by the Bell City Cubs in the district tournament championship game. Yesterday Oran lost 3-0. The previous two years the Cubs went on to claim the class 1 state title.
This latest defeat saw wasted opportunities early by the Eagles. Oran was the visiting team on the scoreboard because Bell City was the number 1 seed. Drew Reischman led off with a hard-hit single to right. Layne Johnson laced a double to left. Reischman got the stop sign at third but stumbled as he rounded, fell down and was tagged out before he could scramble back. Then, with the shortstop trying to keep Johnson close at second, Clay Sauceda lined a bullet back up the middle but it was gloved by the fielder and he doubled off Johnson. Three hard-hit balls and nothing to show for it.
Meanwhile, in the bottom of inning one, Johnson, the starting pitching got two quick outs. The first was a little dribbler up the first base line that he barehanded and tossed backhanded to Austin Eftink. But after a fly out to center, a pitch up in the zone was hammered over the left field fence and the Eagles trailed.
Oran squandered another chance in the second. Cole Priggel started the frame with a walk and moved to second on Eftink's sacrifice bunt. Todd Priggel then hit a ground ball that was fielded by the pitcher. Cole, who was off on contact, was caught in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd. Todd moved up a base when Denver Elfrink beat out an infield single. The threat ended when Peyton McVay hit a ground ball to third that was turned into a force out.
The Eagles would not threaten again as the only managed two more base runners the rest of the way. One was a leadoff walk by Sauceda in the fourth, but he was erased on a one-out double play. The other was Eftink when he reached on a two-out infield error in the seventh.
The Cubs padded their lead with a pair of runs in the third. Again, two were out. This time a runner reached on a fielder's choice, moved to second on a single. Another single drove home the lead runner and the second was able to cross when the ball was bobbled in the outfield.
Johnson (5-3) took the loss for Oran which finishes with a 14-5 mark. He went all 6 innings, allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 6. He also had the only Eagle extra-base hit.