Lack of offense dooms Whirlwinds at state

Archie manages to score in only two innings in two games in the Class 2 tournament

Special to the Democrat MissourianJune 13, 2014 

Archie senior Boston Dickerson fires a pitch to the plate during the first inning of the Whirlwinds’ 8-1 loss to Linn in the Class 2 state tournament third-place game June 3. Dickerson had four strikeouts over the first two innings.

MICHAEL BOYD JR. — /Special to the Democrat Missourian

O' FALLON, Mo. After its dreams of a state baseball title were dashed a day earlier, Archie had no wind left in its sails for a consolation contest June 3.

With an 8-1 loss to the 10th-ranked Linn Wildcats, the Whirlwinds settled for fourth place at the Class 2 state baseball championships at T.R. Hughes Ballpark.

"It didn't go the way we wanted it to, but it is a blessing to be here," Archie coach Bryon Cecil said. "It's better than losing in sectionals because it's another week of baseball. It was a lot of fun.”

Making its first appearance at the state tournament since winning the title in 2004, Archie, 19-9, managed to score in only two innings at the two-day event.

After scoring three quick runs in the first inning against defending state champion Hartville during its semifinal loss, Archie pushed across its only other run of the final four during the third inning against Linn, 23-5.

Junior first baseman Kody Bray scored that lone run when designated hitter Calvin Romi reached base safely on a throwing error for a 1-0 lead.

"I think we could have played better, but we faced some pretty good teams that had good pitching and knew how to hit the ball," said Bray, who was two for three with a stolen base and a run scored. "They just put it where we weren't. We hit the ball too, but couldn't find the holes when we needed like (Linn) did."

Linn was just as hungry for runs after being shut out by top-ranked Ste. Genevieve Valle Catholic the night before. They didn't score their first run at the championships until the third inning against Archie.

At first, the Wildcats seemed as if they couldn't hit the baseball as Archie senior starter Boston Dickerson continued where Valle's Daniel Bergtholdt left off the night before. Linn struck out 15 times against Valle's 6-foot-5 southpaw and had just four hits.

Dickerson, who pitched 10 total innings at the championships, struck out four Wildcats in the first two innings, including three with the bases loaded in the second.

Linn kept fighting, however, and eventually tied the game at 1-1 during its half of the third.

Dickerson, who suffered the loss against Hartville in the semifinals, got a no-decision against Linn as he had reached the state-imposed limit for innings pitched for the week. He struck out five total and walked no one, but allowed five hits in four innings of work.

The Wildcats then pounced on relief pitcher Damon Wimsatt in the fifth, touching him for six runs (five earned) on five hits with no strikeouts or walks in just 1/3 of an inning.

Linn treated Tyler Setzer no better, scoring its final run off of him in the sixth.

"We ran out of gas pitching," said Cecil, who was a member of the Whirlwinds' 2004 title team. "Boston gave us everything he had and Calvin DH'd today because his arm was hurting after pitching yesterday. I appreciate the effort they gave. Everyone gave it their all, in fact."

For Bray, the dream of reaching the state championships will last a lifetime.

"I'm proud of us coming here, pushing through, getting a little revenge on West Platte and being a part of the final four in Class 2," he said. "It was a lot of fun. We wanted to win it all, but to take fourth out of all the teams in Class 2 — to be here — is something I'll remember forever."

Toby Gibson was two for three for the Whirlwinds. Dickerson, Jacob Gordon and Dakota Jones also had hits.

"We did get some hits, just not enough," Cecil said. "Both (Hartville and Linn) had good pitching and good defense. We can't take that away from them. They both played well. Timely hitting just hurt us. We stranded too many runners."

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