Orioles’ late rally falls just short, lose in sectionals
On Monday, May 21, the Class 2 District 16 champion Concordia High School baseball team played host to the Lincoln High School Cardinals — the Class 2 District 15 champion — in the sectional round of the state tournament. It was a dramatic, high intensity matchup, but unfortunately for Oriole faithful, they couldn't quite pull out the victory, falling 3-2.
A first-inning single for Lincoln — the home team officially, as they would win the coin toss that takes place before each state playoff game — wouldn’t amount to anything, but in the third inning, the Cardinals would strike first. A leadoff single would eventually lead to a two-run home run off the bat of Jackson Beaman, putting the Cardinals ahead 2-0 early in the game.
The O’s were slow out of the gate, failing to get a base runner until a leadoff single from senior Cameron Cooper in the fourth inning. Nothing would come of it, however.
Lincoln would strike again in the fifth inning, when an error put a runner on base for Beaman, who would stroke his second extra-base hit of the game with a double to right field, increasing the lead to 3-0 in favor of Lincoln.
The sixth inning showed a ton of promise for the Orioles, as a leadoff base-knock for sophomore Jaren Adams got things moving in the right direction. Cooper would follow suit with a poke of his own, putting runners at first and second with nobody down. Unfortunately, the next three batters couldn’t find grass, eventually stranding the two runners on base despite solid at-bats.
After retiring the Lincoln side in order, the Orioles were still behind 3-0, now with just one more opportunity to put runs on the board.
Freshman Austin Droege got the rally started right, as he stroked a leadoff single to get the seventh inning rolling. Senior Abram Frerking would then slap a one-bagger of his own, bringing the tying run to the plate. Sophomore Peyton Moore was able to advance the runners, putting them at second and third with one out. The next batter would go down, but Adams would proceed to deliver his second hit of the evening, a big single that would advance Frerking to third and score Droege.
Representing the winning run, Cooper delivered a single as well, driving Frerking in while advancing Adams (the tying run) to third base.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, the ensuing batter wouldn’t be able to keep the line moving, signaling the end of Concordia's championship hopes.
Matthew Gatewood was tasked with pitching in this matchup, and the junior didn’t disappoint. He threw a complete game, striking out six while allowing just four hits and a hit batter. Two of his three runs allowed were earned. The two earned runs came on the early home run, as Beaman’s game-deciding double drove in a runner who reached via error.
Cooper — “Coop” to his teammates and coaches (see Notes from Coach Beissenherz) — was the leading hitter for the O’s, as he would go 3-4 with an RBI. Droege went 1-3 with a run scored, as did Frerking. Adams went 2-3, driving in the other run. All Oriole hits were singles.
The Orioles finished their season at 16-7. It was another excellent season for the Boys in Orange.
Lincoln's season would end in the next round of the playoffs, as Skyline High School smacked the Cards 11-4. Lincoln’s season ended at 24-4.