DELAWARE — All good things must come to an end.
That reality hit home for members of the West Jefferson High School baseball team.
One of the very best seasons in school history came to an abrupt end Thursday with a 8-1 Division III Central District championship game loss to Fredericktown in a game played at Ohio Wesleyan University.
The Roughriders (26-2) couldn’t muster much of an offensive attack against Freddies starting pitcher Nick Cunningham. West Jeff had just a pair of singles and scored a lone fourth inning run.
West Jeff starter Jake Boyd successfully pitched out of a first inning jam. Fredericktown had a pair of singles in the top of the first but Boyd got a fly ball out and a ground out to end the threat. The ′Riders went in order in the home half of the first.
Fredericktown continued to keep busy on the base paths in the second inning, a walk and a single led to an RBI groundout and a 1-0 lead. West Jeff failed to score in the second and a leadoff single from Fredricktown’s Leighton Cunningham in the top of the third eventually led to another Freddies run.
Leighton Cunningham stole second and third. West Jeff coach Jason Bogenrife then went to ace Shane Gray who surrendered a sacrifice fly and gave the Freddies a 2-0 lead.
The Roughriders appeared to be on the brink of breaking things open in the bottom of the third. After a pair of outs, Lance Lambert reached base on an error, Boyd singled and Connor Shields was hit by a pitch loading the bases. Gray came to the plate and hit a shot deep to right field but Fredericktown’s Anthony Caputo tracked it down just in front of the fence ending the inning.
”Their kid did a great job,” West Jeff coach Jason Bogenrife said. “I mean he stayed in the zone, and we just couldn’t put a whole lot together against him. When we did, it just seemed like we hit the ball at them. It just wasn’t our day.”
The Freddies scored another single run in the fourth. The ′Riders answered with their lone run of the game in the fourth. Cole Howard collected an infield single, Justin Gatley sacrificed him to second. A balk by Nick Cunningham advanced Howard to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Cade Brintlinger.
But just as West Jeff was feeling good about itself and its chances after scoring and cutting the deficit to 3-1. Fredericktown scored three more in the fifth and two in the sixth.
The Roughriders were just unable to get things going like they have all season long.
“I don’t think it was anything different, the kids prepared the same,” Bogenrife said. “Some days you just don’t have it. They had a great run, 26-2, but today just wasn’t our day. It’s a bad stage to not play your best. But we have to tip our cap to Fredericktown.
“I told them we’re proud of them. They did everything we asked them to do. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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