The Indians had the tying run on base and the winning run at the plate in the final inning but couldn’t come away with the win against Cincinnati Elder, losing 6-4.
D-B coach Ryan Wagner saw positives in the loss to what he called probably the best team the Indians have faced all season. Elder was the perfect opponent to help the Indians get ready for their home-and-home Big 7 Conference series with Science Hill on Monday and Tuesday.
View Todd Brase’s photo gallery from the game
Dalton Harkleroad was caught stealing second for the final out, but there wasn’t any hesitation because the Indians were trying to produce runs trailing by two.
“We weren’t holding him. The guy made a really good throw and he was quick to the plate,” Wagner said. “It’s probably the best team we’ve faced all year. They’re good swinging the bats 1 through 9 and their pitchers were good. But we were right there with them with a swing or two from winning the ballgame.”
The Panthers (7-2) outhit the Indians 13-4, but D-B was effective with its scoring opportunities.
The Indians (14-8) scored two runs in the second inning after Cade Maupin got on base with a walk and Noah Hale followed with a double. They took advantage of a wild pitch to pull within 4-2 at the end of two.
D-B tied it an inning later. Brogan Beckner’s smooth swing produced a double and an angry Derek Thurston, facing Elder pitcher Mason Berger, followed by sending the ball well over the left field fence for a two-run home run.
“Earlier in the count, he wasn’t blowing it past me, but it angered me on the one call,” Thurston said. “It made me want to hit that ball as hard as I could. I just tried my best to get all of it.”
Kory Klingenbeck was 2-for-4 and scored three runs to lead the Panthers. Carmine Domenicone went 3-for-4 and scored a run, and Colton Sandras and Zack Williams also had two hits.
After the Indians tied the game in the third, Elder scored one run in the fourth and an insurance run the final inning.
Gage Hensley got the start on the mound for D-B, and Grayson England suffered the loss.
Regardless of the outcome, Wagner liked how the game prepared his Indians for a Science Hill team also known for being good up and down the lineup.
“It’s what we needed going into next week,” Wagner said. “We’ve got to be a little tougher early in the game against good hitting clubs. We can’t give them as many runs as we did early. We can’t give up free bases and we’ve got to do a better job holding runners on, but we’ll take care of that. We didn’t play bad. We were in the game against the best team we’ve faced.”