EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Southridge Raiders baseball team played for the IHSAA Class 2-A State Championship on Tuesday and unfortunately suffered one of the most heartbreaking losses.
The Raiders were one strike away from winning the State Championship, 3-2, when it all went downhill.
The Raiders got the third strike, but catcher Chase Taylor dropped the ball. His throw to first base then sailed into the outfield, which allowed the runner to take second.
After that, a single to center drove in the tying run, to make it 3-3. That hitter took second on an overthrow to home plate.
Alexandria won it when a high pop-fly fell in between two Raiders, allowing the game-winning run to score. The Tigers won 4-3; just a gut-wrenching way for Southridge to lose.
“Nobody feels worse than Chase, ya know it’s not on him, it’s not on Colson, it’s not on Patrick,” Raiders Head Coach Gene Mattingly says. "Ya know, all the guys that are hanging their heads, it’s gonna hurt like crazy. And I’m glad to a little bit that it does, cuz it means they care, but it’s a game. I told them afterwards it’s a game, it’s not gonna change how I feel about them. Whether they make a play on a diamond, their value isn’t created in what they do on a field, it’s who they are as people. “I love all of them.”
“I mean we had it, we had it for a while too,” says Raiders Senior Tucker Schank. “Played really well, pitched really well, played good defense, made some mistakes, but that’s baseball. Sometimes life throws you a curveball, sometimes it’s just you can do everything right, you can work hard for months, years at a time, and you can do everything right to achieve your goal and everything’s just left up to chance. I’d like to think that what we’ve learned here is for a greater good and we’ll be able to move on from it.”
“The brothers I have, I wouldn’t want anyone else," sais Southridge sophomore Ethan Bell. "Special two years in a row. This isn’t how we wanted it to end, but I wouldn’t want to end it any other way here. This field’s something special. I don’t know how to explain it, the feeling is terrible.”
One bright spot, was senior Joe LaGrange was named, the L.V. Philips Mental Attitude award winner. This honor is presented to an outstanding senior, who has demonstrated excellence in attitude, leadership, scholarship, and baseball.