SETH, W.Va. — The big one that got away.
Despite leading 2-0 midway through regulation, the Hannan baseball team let one slip away Monday night following a 3-2 setback to host Sherman in the opening round of the Class A Region 4, Section 2 tournament contest in Boone County.
The fifth-seeded Wildcats (4-10) were held hitless through three innings of play, but the guests strung together three hits and a walk in consecutive at-bats during the top of the fourth — which led to a quick 2-0 advantage.
The fourth-seeded Tide (10-12), however, scored their first run on a balk in the fourth, then tied the game on a wild pitch in the sixth. The Maroon and Gold also clinched things in the seventh when the only error of the night led to the eventual game-winning run.
HHS suffered a similar fate last spring in the opening round of the postseason as Calhoun County scored in the seventh to post a 5-4 victory.
Given the recent history, third-year HHS coach Tad Greathouse really believed — like his troops did — that that elusive first tournament win was within reach.
Then again, that could still be a possibility as the Wildcats will play again on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Hannan will either travel to third-seeded Tolsia, or it could host either sixth-seeded Van or seventh-seeded Tug Valley — pending on results from Tuesday night’s next round of games.
“This is probably the toughest loss of my coaching career,” Greathouse said. “We played well enough to win and just had a few things work against there in the end. It’s tough, but I’m proud of my guys for their effort tonight. We don’t really have much time to dwell on this one because we really need to be ready and focused on our next game.”
Both teams actually went without a baserunner through three innings of play, but the Blue and White struck first blood with one out in the top of the fourth.
Corey Hudnall singled and advanced to second on a free pass to Kevin Morehart, then both runners came home on a first pitch single from Christian Holland to give the Cats a 2-0 advantage.
SHS ended up leaving the bases loaded in its half of the fourth, but Bailey Kirk scored on a balk that allowed the hosts to cut their deficit in half.
Kirk also led the sixth off with a single, then stole second and advanced to third on a groundout before coming home on a wild pitch that knotted things up at two through six complete.
Trace Harless reached on an infield error in the seventh, then advanced to third on a two-out single from Jacob Hensley that put runners on the corners. Cordell Parsons followed with a single to left field that plated the winning run in Harless.
Sherman outhit the guests by a 7-5 overall margin, with the Wildcats committing the only error of the game.
Kirk was the winning pitcher of record after allowing two earned runs, five hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out 15. Nick Hughes took the tough-luck loss after surrendering three runs (two earned), seven hits and three walks over 6.2 frames while fanning seven.
Sawyer Casto led HHS with two hits, followed by Hudnall, Holland and James Bledsoe with a safety apiece. Holland accounted for both RBIs in the loss, while Hudnall and Morehart each scored a run.
Kirk led the hosts with two hits and two runs scored, with Hensley, Parsons, Harless, Layne Daniel and Hunter Breeden providing a safety apiece. Harless also scored a run for the victors.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.