The bats went silent for the Red Devils Friday, May 13, as the St. Francis Knights eliminated the Devils from the Class A state baseball playoffs. The Knights scored three runs in the sixth inning of game one to break a 1-1 tie and rode two 3-run homers in game two to take the series.
St. Francis 4, Lincoln County 2
In game 1, St. Francis took the lead in the top of the third on R. Browell’s solo home run. Austin Goldman and Rontae Norman combined to get the Devils back even in the bottom of the fifth. Goldman walked and went to second on a wild pitch. He then scored on Norman’s single to left. The Knights came right back in the top of the sixth with a triple and three consecutive singles to take a 4-1 lead. Tyler Beale slammed a long home run to centerfield in the bottom of the sixth to cut the margin to 4-2. The Devils loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t come up with the big hit and fell behind in the best of three series.
Danny Williford took the loss for his only loss of the season. Rontae Norman led the hitters with two hits.
St. Francis 6, Lincoln County 4
The Knights jumped out front in the first inning of game two on a three run homer by Rabinowitz. Austin Goldman countered in the second with an LCHS homer to right cutting the deficit to 3-1. St. Francis answered in the third with a three run homer by Ciatti to extend the St. Francis lead to 6-1. The Devils tried to fight back in the seventh inning but came up short. A walk to Casey Norman and singles by Rontae Norman and Cody Beggs gave the Devils one run. Rontae Norman then scored on a sacrifice fly by Cordarryl Coppin. Danny Williford then reached on a throwing error but CJ Norman was thrown out at the plate. Tyler Beale then singled to put runners on first and second. Brandon Barden followed Beale with a run scoring double leaving the tying runs on second and third but the Devils again couldn’t get the big hit.
Coppin started and received the loss in game two. Beale came on in the third and only allowed four Knights to reach base through the final three and two thirds innings.
The losses left the Region 7-A Champion Devils with an overall 18-7 record.
Coach Billy Beale said that "we just couldn’t come up with the big hits when we had opportunities throughout both games. St. Francis played excellent defense and they put the ball in play when they had the opportunity to score. Overall, we had an outstanding season. On March 12, we had a 3-3 record and then didn’t lose again until the final game of the regular season. Any one of us probably would have been very excited about being region champions at that point." He also added that LCHS would miss their five seniors. "Cordarryl Coppin, Danny Williford, Cody Beggs, C J Norman and Dontai Parks have played a lot of baseball over the past few years and will be missed.
" However, in the playoffs, we started a freshman at first (Goldman) and sophomores at second base (Kiece Crite), shortstop (Beale), third base (Barden) and right field (Rontae Norman) along with a junior (Casey Norman and Austin Reed split time) in left field. Add sophomore Alex Bradford (who was hitting .360 before having knee surgery) back into the line-up and we should be strong again next year. We look for freshman Josh Hollimon to take over the catcher’s duties and for sophomore Logan Rhodes to push the outfielders or to continue as the courtesy runner.” Beale also went on to say that “he would really like to thank the assistant coaches, Doug Newman and Shawn Davis, for going way beyond a normal effort this year. Also, Wayne Williford and Scott Beale helped out tremendously with dugout management throughout the year. We also need to recognize the parents and fans for their support."
Click here for final statistics.
Our congratulations to the Diamond Devils and coach Billy Beale for their Region Championship and Great Season!!!
Previous Baseball Stories/Photos:
May 9: Diamond Devils Host St. Francis in Class A Playoffs
May 2: Devils Clinch Region 7-A Championship
April 28: Devils 15-3 After Edging W-W for Coach Beale's 400th Victory
April 15: Devils Beat Hancock Central, Johnson County
March 28: Red Devils Whip W-W Tigers 6-2 For First Region Win of 2005
March 27: Red Devils Win 3, Improve to 7-3 with Barden's No-Hitter
March 15: Devils Win 4 Games in First 2 Weeks