Title bid ends for Squirrels at Sr. Babe World Series

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

sports@standard-democrat.com

ANDALUSIA, Ala. -- Despite mounting a seventh-inning rally, the Charleston Fighting Squirrels saw their season come to a close Tuesday night with a 2-1 loss to the Gulf Coast, Ala., Rawdogs in the Senior Babe Ruth World Series quarterfinals.

"We had the bases loaded in the last inning and had a shot," Charleston head coach Michael Minner said. "Gulf Coast is a great baseball team and I bet they win it all. They throw two guys that were probably 89 to 91 miles-per-hour and two of the better arms we've seen all summer.

"It was a great game by two great teams. Somebody has to win and somebody has too lose. Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of it tonight."

Even with starting pitcher Trey Tigart holding Gulf Coast to only two runs in a complete game effort, Charleston struggled to get their offensive going, collecting only two hits through six innings of play.

It was when Charleston was down to their final three outs and trailing by a pair of runs that they found some life at the plate.

Tyler Anderson led off the top of seventh frame with a base hit to left field before a ground ball down the right side by Brad Potts put the tying run on first with one out.

An ensuing strikeout left the Squirrels down to their last chance. An 0-2 count followed Cord Sheehy to put Charleston down to their final strike. Sheehy fought off a pitch then sent a ball past short to load the bases.

Jared Walker came up next and took four-straight pitches outside of the zone to force in Charleston's first run of the game while leaving the bases full and trailing by just one.

Unfortunately for the Squirrels, with the tying run just 90 feet away, Gulf Coast went to their bullpen and got one final strikeout to advance to the semifinals while sending Charleston home for the summer with a third-straight loss.

"It was a pitcher's duel," Minner said. "Trey Tigart battled his butt off and he deserved to win tonight. They got a run in the first inning that they shouldn't have got on a blown call and another on a base hit with two outs in the fifth.

"We got a guy thrown out at the plate in the fourth trying to tie it."

Charleston finishes the season at 52-12 and as one of the top six teams in the nation. This was the Squirrels deepest trek into the postseason and only the second time they've reached the World Series.

"Our kids play the game the right way and do the little things right," Minner said. "Everybody out here told us we were a class act and I just couldn't be prouder of these kids. They've made me appreciate baseball so much more.

"This is one of those teams you'll remember in your heart forever."

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