The Russellville Indians baseball team (17-7) lost to the Southern Boone Eagles (23-2) on May 13, falling 12-4.
Despite the final score, the Eagles didn’t pull away until a nine-run showing late in the game.
Early in the game, it was Russellville that struck first and took the lead in the bottom of the second inning; with two runners on base and two outs in the inning, Isaiah Kauffman put the Indians on the board with a base hit to make it 1-0. Landon Plochberger followed that up with a double that scored two more runs to make it 3-0.
After that inning, the Indians struggled to add more runs; Russellville head coach Lucas Branson said that was a result of Southern Boone making adjustments.
“We stayed aggressive with our approach, but the Southern Boone pitchers were able to make some adjustments and they responded defensively,” Branson said.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning to make it 3-1, then tied it up in the top of the fourth inning. With a runner on third and two outs in the inning, a wild pitch helped one run cross home to make it 3-2. Later in the inning, with a runner on second base, the Eagles scored the tying run when a fly ball that looked like it had been caught by the Indians fell to the ground. It was ruled the ball was dropped, which allowed the run to count.
With the game still tied at 3, the Eagles’ bats came alive at the top of the sixth inning as Southern Boone started off with a home run to left field to make it 4-3. A couple of batters later, the Eagles hit their second home run of the inning, this time a two-run shot, to make it 6-3. The very next batter hit a solo home run to make it 7-3, completing the Eagles’ home run trifecta. Southern Boone added five more runs to pull away late in the game.
Russellville got one of those runs back in the bottom of the sixth inning, thanks to back-to-back doubles by Charlie Miller and Alex Oligschlaeger to make it 12-4, but the Indians were unable to cut into the lead any further during the rest of the sixth inning and in the seventh inning.
Branson said when the team is in a situation where its opponents score multiple runs late in the game, the players have to stay focused on having good quality at-bats “which we did a decent job of doing, coming back and scoring a run,” Branson said.
Russellville scored four runs on five hits and had one error in the game, while Southern Boone scored its 12 runs on 11 hits and had no errors in the game. Landon Plochberger led the team with two RBIs, and Alex Oligschlaeger and Kauffman each added one RBI. Logan Cinotto pitched five innings and gave up three runs — two of them earned — on two hits. He also struck out six batters and walked two.
Branson said the team can take away the fact that it can compete with anyone in their own class.
“Our biggest takeaway was the fact that with one of our top pitchers going a strong five innings against a very good class 4 team … we can compete with anyone in our own class, and that puts us in a good position heading into the postseason,” Branson said.
The Indians’ next game was at 7 p.m. May 18 against Eugene in the semifinal round of the Class 2 District 9 Tournament at South Callaway.