“It was not one of our stellar games,” said Twin Valley coach Jim Burke.
According to Burke, the team committed a number of mental errors, including a botched pick-off attempt in the first inning that led to three runs. Twin Valley had scored a run in the top of the first to take an early lead, but that didn’t hold up long. Rochester plated three runners in the bottom of the first to grab a 3-1 lead.
“We probably gave them six of the 11 runs,” said Burke. “It could have been 5-2 and we could have been in the game. Their minds weren’t into it.”
Rochester added another run in the second, four in the third, two in the fourth, and a final run in the fifth. Twin Valley added a late run in the top of the seventh inning.
“The bats didn’t come,” said Burke, “and the pitching wasn’t spectacular, either.”
Jason Moore started for the Wildcats and took the loss. Dal Nesbitt came on during the fourth and pitched through the fifth and sixth innings.
Colin Lozito led the way at the plate for Twin Valley, going 2 for 3 and scoring twice. Dylan Johnson was also 2 for 3. Cade Nesbitt, Sam Molner, and Moore each had a hit. Eli Park reached base with a base on balls. But Rochester pitchers also shut down many of the Wildcat bats. The hosts registered nine strikeouts for the game, including striking out the side looking in the fourth inning.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats met many of the goals coaches Burke and George Molner set out at the start of the season.
“We went further than we had in a long time,” said Burke. “We did what we set out to do.”
Indeed, the coaches had set winning a first-round playoff game as an achievable goal for the team this season. Now, after the first-round win and second-round loss, the bar will be set higher for next season. Burke expects more consistent play from the team. There were no seniors on the team, which included two juniors, seven sophomores, and a freshman. Many had seen little or no varsity play before this season.
“We have a solid group of 10 kids,” Burke said. “I feel very good about next year. The record this year wasn’t stellar, but we accomplished some things. It was a good end. Nothing could hurt as bad as last year. I could have seen those guys (the veteran, senior-laden 2011 team, which was upset in the first round) going to the final. I can see that next year or the year after. We’ll be ready to go.”