Russellville Indians baseball rode a six-game winning streak into their Thursday night contest against the defending Class 1 state champion St. Elizabeth Hornets. St. Elizabeth took Russellville into extra innings and came on top 5-4 in eight innings.
Throughout the first four innings, the game was a scoreless pitching battle between Russellville's Jesse Daniel and St. Elizabeth's Gavin Williams. In the bottom of the fifth, Russellville loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by second baseman Davin Pistel and third baseman Chris Seaver. Catcher Jake Schulte reached first base on an error by the second baseman to load the bases. Russellville then scored two runs on two bases-loaded walks to take a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the sixth, St. Elizabeth provided a quick answer by scoring a run on a double by second baseman Blake Wobbe. Later in the sixth, Russellville head coach Lucas Branson inserted Charlie Miller as pitcher to replace Jesse Daniel. With two runners on base, St. Elizabeth catcher Jace Kesel hit a 0-1 pitch to center field for a three-run home run to give the Hornets a 4-2 lead.
Down by two runs in the bottom of the sixth, Russellville needed to answer the home run by Kesel. Pistel hit a double to center field with one out. Russellville's next batter, third baseman Chris Seaver, hit the first pitch he saw to center field for a two-run home run to tie the game 4-4.
First baseman Alex Oligschlaeger followed the home run by walking to first base. Branson inserted Ethan Strobel as a courtesy runner for Oligschlaeger, but was cut off at first base to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Miller hit a high pop up that dropped in the shallow infield on an error, but Miller was caught trying to advance to second. St. Elizabeth recorded the last two outs of the seventh to send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Kesel hit a line drive to left field and reached second base on an error by the left fielder. Two batters later, pitcher Gavin Williams took a 2-0 pitch to left field and scored Kesel to give the Hornets a 5-4 lead.
St. Elizabeth closed out the game in the bottom of the eighth with three straight groundouts to the shortstop and won the game 5-4.
Starting pitcher and shortstop Jesse Daniel pitched 5.1 innings for the Indians and allowed two runs on three hits with five strikeouts. Daniel batted 1-3 with a run batted in.
Pitcher and shortstop Charlie Miller pitched 1.2 innings and allowed two runs on one hit with four strikeouts. Miller batted 1-3 with a run batted in.
Third baseman and center fielder Chris Seaver batted 2-5 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.
Second baseman Davin Pistel batted 2-4 and scored two runs.
Branson said Russellville hurt themselves against the Hornets with their baserunning errors and batting struggles against Gavin Williams. After the game, Branson addressed his team and motivated them to put the loss behind them and learn for the setback.
"We simply talked after the game about being the team that tries to make sure we play every pitch and every inning as hard as we can and making sure we don't get outworked or outplayed. Mistakes cost us in the game and we need to make sure our focus on every pitch is where it needs to be," Branson said.
The Indians are now 18-5. They will play Pembroke Hill on Friday in the first round of the Russellville Tournament.