Town Crier Sports Staff
Manila looked as if it would have an easy time in Saturday afternoon's regional tournament opener against Cotter at the Harrison Sports Complex when the Lions scored eight runs in the first two innings to take an 8-5 lead. But the Warriors scored two times in the fourth and added five more in the fifth to go ahead 12-9 and held on for a 14-10 victory, ruining Manila's state tournament hopes and ending the Lion's season.
Cotter jumped on top early, scoring twice in the first inning, but Manila retaliated with four runs in their half of the first to take a 4-2 lead. Ross Malloy's two-run triple highlighted Manila's four run outburst.
Cotter came right back, scoring three times in the top of the second with Jacob Kasinger's two-run single being the big blow.
Not to be outdone, the Lions scored four more runs in their half of the second with the aid of three walks and a hit batsman to take an 8-5 lead.
Manila tacked on another run in the third when Michael Shedd led off the inning with a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Malloy, giving Manila a 9-5 advantage.
Cotter closed to within 9-7, scoring twice in the top of the fourth. Kris Rodgers hit a bases loaded single, driving in the first run of the inning, and Coty Watson drove in the second run of the inning with an RBI ground-out.
The Warriors exploded for five runs in the fifth, thanks to an RBI triple by Justin Ivens. Cody Krug ripped an RBI single to put the Warriors ahead for good, 10-9. Cotter added two more runs with the help of a wild pitch and an error to take a 12-9 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning.
Manila got one run back when Kyle Evans drove in Shedd with an RBI grounder. Shedd led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch before riding home on Evans' grounder to third.
The Warriors tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh with the help of a pair of Lion errors to take a 14-10 lead.
Manila tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh when Shedd led off with a bloop single to center. Malloy walked to put runners at first and second with one out, but Evans grounded into a force out for the second out and the game ended when Chad Nunnally was called out on strikes.
Dustin Collins, who was roughed up early, settled down and went the distance to pick up the victory for Cotter. Collins surrendered 11 hits but gave up only two runs after the second inning.
Nunnally went all the way for the Lions in suffering the loss. Nunnally gave up 15 hits and 14 runs, six of which were earned. The junior righthander struck out three while walking none.
Michael Shedd led the Lions at the plate going 3-3 while scoring four runs and stealing three bases. Shedd also drove in a run. Malloy finished 2-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored while McLaughlin was also 2-3 with a pair of runs scored. Evans had a hit, drove in a run and scored once while Jace Elkins also had a hit and scored once. Nunnally and Trey McCormick each singled to round out the Lion attack.
"We just shut down offensively after the third inning, and we made a lot of defensive mistakes," said Manila Coach Steve Milligan. "We gave them too many unearned runs. We really missed Frankie Cowgill today, not only at the plate but also in the field. You are talking about one of our best hitters and glove men, in addition to a player that can really run the bases. That really hurt us. But you have to give Cotter credit. They put the ball in play and avoided strikeouts and we helped them out by throwing the ball all over creation. But we had a pretty good year finishing district runner-ups. We are a young team and have almost everybody coming back. That is something for us to look forward to."