ELIDA, Ohio — Lake was unable to overcome its inability to collect a key hit Thursday in a Division III regional baseball semifinal at Elida High School.
The Flyers left 10 runners on base, including eight in scoring position, as Huron posted a 3-2 win.
“We just didn't put the ball in play enough. We had seven or eight strikeouts, and that's more than we usually do,” Lake coach Greg Wilker said.
Trailing 3-0, Lake (27-4) rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With one out, Aaron Witt singled. Adam Duncan then reached on an error, forcing Huron coach Sam Hohler to replace starting pitcher Kyle Kovach with Tommy Bogden.
Bogden got a strikeout for the second out of the inning before Conner Bowen's infield single loaded the bases.
Jayce Vancena also reached on an infield single, scoring Witt.
Anthony Pratt followed with a walk to score Duncan.
However, Bogden got a ground ball to the shortstop to end the game.
“I told the kids … I was going to remember them as battlers,” Wilker said. “That last inning, we were just one hit away from winning the ball game.”
Huron (21-7) got some breathing room early, scoring two runs in the first inning off Vancena, Lake's ace.
Jack Hufnagle opened for the Tigers with an infield single. After a line drive to shortstop for the first out, Zach Souter blooped a single into right field.
Bogden followed with an RBI single, as the throw beat Hufnagle to the plate, but he was able to avoid the tag. A fielder's choice by Andrew Dowell scored Huron's second run.
“That hurt,” Wilker said. “We like to play the short game, and that took us out of the short game a little bit.”
It appeared the two runs would be enough for Kovach, a sophomore, as he allowed only four hits through the first six innings.
“He mixed his pitches up just enough, and kept us off balance,” Wilker said.
Still the Flyers had their chances, but Kovach (8-2) was able to pitch out of trouble. He finished with nine strikeouts and two walks.
“Kyle has been our ace. He was last year as a freshman,” Hohler said.
Huron scored the eventual winning run in the top of the fifth. With one out, Hufnagle walked and Keegan Bollenbacher singled, moving Hufnagle to third.
Hohler put Bollenbacher in motion toward second base, hoping to get him in a run-down that would allow Hufnagle to score.
The play resulted in a Lake error, with Hufnagle scoring.
“That's frustrating. We worked on that. We knew they were going to do it, we just didn't execute where we usually do there,” Wilker said.
Vancena threw 98 pitches, striking out 10, walking one, and allowing six hits.