After defeating Maxwell at home earlier in the week, the Crete/Milford Cardinals baseball team saw its season come to an end with an 8-1 loss to Plattsmouth in District B-2 action May 6.
The Cardinals had eight hits and eight stolen bases in their victory over Maxwell on May 3, which was senior night for Crete, but the game was not for the faint of heart – after building a 5-0 lead after six innings, the Cardinals had to withstand a furious comeback by Maxwell in the top of the seventh inning.
Senior starter Ethan Wittstruck earned the win and was strong for most of the game, allowing six hits and four runs over six and a third innings. Head coach Jacob Cathey said Wittstruck pitched really well and was cruising along until the seventh inning, when the coaches brought in fellow senior Madaux DeLong.
DeLong came into the game with one out in the top of the inning and finished the game for Crete, giving up a run-scoring single sandwiched between two groundouts to end the game.
Both Braden Schmeckpepper and Tadd TeBrink went 2 for 3 at the plate, and each of them hit a double in the victory.
Things didn’t go as well May 6 against Plattsmouth, however, as the Cardinals never got on track and only managed two hits in their District B-2 loss to Plattsmouth.
The Blue Devils struck first when their lead-off batter homered to left field in the bottom of the first inning. The Blue Devils then increased their lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third.
Crete’s only score came in the top of the fourth, when Schmeckpepper, who had tripled in the first inning only to be left stranded, drew a lead-off walk, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice by Colton Homolka and scored on a single by Everett Heath to cut the lead by one, 2-1.
Plattsmouth, however, answered that run in the bottom of the inning to make the score 3-1, then exploded for five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a commanding 8-1 lead, which was how the game ultimately ended. Crete finished the season with an 8-13 record.
“Micah Hartwig, competing with a sore back, really competed his tail off and kept us in the game,” Cathey said. “He gave up six runs, but only two of those were earned.”
Cathey said he feels like the team improved a lot from the first day of practice until its last game.
“I can see a gradual build up in the culture within the program,” he said. “Our focus and effort at practice got better week to week and we saw the results on the field. We had multiple games this year that really showed the type of team we are capable of being. This is a big improvement from last year and I’m very excited for the group that is returning next year. They have really bought in and are dedicated to one another and towards our goals. To expect instant change is unreasonable, but we absolutely are trending in the right direction.”
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