By Steve Peterson
The sun was setting when Akron-Westfield baseball Coach Gordy Johnson gathered his team around him for one last time.
It would be the final time of the 2013 season as the Westerners, led by a talented group of six seniors, fell to Woodbury Central 4-0 July 18 in Moville but went down fighting to the end. The seniors are Gregg Taylor, Cory Eskra, Cole Oltmanns, Spencer Frankl, Chet Willer and Kyle Schroeder.
“That was a greatest set of seniors,” said Johnson. “We just did not get quite enough hits tonight.”
A-W ended the campaign at a 13-14 record while Woodbury Central was 18-9 before a clash with its rival, Lawton-Bronson, 4-1, for the district championship.
There would be no Saturday game for the Westerners; no more practices at Sargent Field.
Woodbury Central would go on to defeat Lawton-Bronson for the district title.
Both A-W and the Wildcats had a scoreless first inning but the Wildcats jumped up 2-0 in the second. A hit batter would later score as did Paul Gallagher, who had an RBI double which was followed by a single from Grady Monker.
A-W starting pitcher Chet Willer then bore down and got the final out on a strikeout.
Devon Myers, a sophomore, gave the Westerners their first base runner of the game with a walk in the third inning but was picked off, and the inning ended quietly.
Freshman Caleb Colt singled in the fourth for A-W but was wiped out on a double play.
Zach Klingensmith made it a 3-0 Wildcats’ lead in the fifth inning with an RBI double. Cory Eskra then came in for relief and he was greeted with an RBI single by Brooks Montagne for a 4-0 cushion. Cory Eskra then struck out the side in the WC sixth inning and added another strikeout in the seventh for a total of six.
A-W’s best chance to score a run came in the sixth inning against winning pitcher Jake Mize.
Eighth grader and pinch hitter Aaron Allard singled. Caleb Colt walked with one out but after a fielder’s choice for the second out, a fly out ended the threat.
Taylor reached on a single in the seventh inning. Austin Allard also singled. After a fly-out, there was a controversy about a runner leaving too early. But A-W made one more out against Mize so that was a moot point.
Woodbury Central only out hit A-W by a 7-5 count but their clutch hits were enough last Thursday.
Although it may seem next spring’s practices are a long ways off, back next year are eighth graders Aaron Allard, Austin Allard, Riley Dennison, Cal Eskra and Montana Jackson; freshmen Caleb Colt, Spenser Wardrip and Jess McMahon; sophomores Seth Klemme, Devon Myers and Jacob Neubrand; and juniors Alex Foley and Taylor Anderson.
For War Eagle Conference, Gregg Taylor was named First Team; Chet Willer, Second Team Infield; Cole Oltmanns, Second Team Outfield; and Cory Eskra, Honorable Mention.
For District, Taylor was named All-District.