By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg Bulldog varsity baseball team had high hopes going into tournament play. The team became district champions after beating Three Rivers 2-1 and Otsego 8-0 on June 3.
But when Vicksburg got to the Regional semifinal round against Stevensville Lakeshore on June 10, the season ended in an extra innings controversy.
The Bulldogs got out to an early lead in the first after junior Adam Henderson hit a big double. Fellow junior Ryan Morgan laid down a perfect bunt to put Henderson in scoring position and senior Brenden Lovell brought him home for an early 1-0 lead.
The Lancers tied things up with a couple of doubles in the third and then took the lead in the fifth.
Down 2-1, the Bulldogs responded to the pressure of the situation in the best way possible. Henderson and Morgan both singled before a hit by junior Garrett Ketelaar allowed Vicksburg to tie things up 2-2.
The game went into extra innings after no scoring in the seventh. Finally, in the top of inning 10, Henderson had another big double. Morgan had help in a Stevensville error that let Henderson score the go-ahead run.
It was in the bottom of the 10th that controversy and bad luck struck for the Bulldogs. With Morgan on base to relieve Lovell, the Lancers had one on and one out when Stevensville popped a ball over towards second, which was caught and called as an out by the official.
However, after an umpire conference, officials allowed the Stevensville runner to take his base saying the batter had been interfered with by the Vicksburg catcher. The call came with much displeasure from the Vicksburg fans.
The call also seemed to swing momentum back to Stevensville. The next Lancer batter walked to load the bases and another walk of the next batter tied the game 3-3. Soon after, a Stevensville batter got a hit to center to end the game 4-3.
While head coach Brian Deal wasn’t pleased with the call that ended the Bulldogs’ season, he also said sometimes calls just don’t go your way.
“The only thing I can say is they gave their absolute best effort through 10 innings of baseball,” Deal said. “I can’t say enough about how they competed all season long.”