MUMFORD — The Elkhart High School baseball team saw its season come to an end on Saturday, falling to West 6-2 in Game Two of a best-of-3 Conference 3A-Region III area round series.
The Elks played uncharacteristically shoddy defense in the series, with 10 errors in two games, and the Elkhart bats were limited to four hits in all.
Still, tradition-rich Elkhart put together another strong season under head coach John Adair, taking second in District 18-3A and finishing as a bi-district champion with an overall record of 17-14.
“Our biggest issue was a lack of defense, and they swung the bats a little bit more than we did,” said Elkhart head coach John Adair.
Meanwhile, West (21-10-2) will face Groesbeck (19-6-1) in the 3A-Region III quarterfinals with the first pitch set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Corsicana High School. Game Two is at 5 p.m. Friday, with the third game to follow.
In Friday's loss to West, which was reduced to five innings on account of the mercy rule, West took control of the game in the third inning with five runs.
Starting pitcher Jon-Michael Mahon absorbed the loss for the Elks. Mahon attempted to support himself with two singles; but, he had Elkhart's only hits of the contest. The team was unable to draw any walks and Mahon advanced to second base only once.
Coach Adair said the Elks made plenty of solid contact; however, the Trojans were seemingly always in position to make the requisite defensive play.
West pitcher Tyler Kaluza struck out five in five innings of work. Romeo Hernandez had two RBI and Jarek Rozyskie and Mikey VanZandt one each for the Trojans.
On Saturday, Bryson Adair was given the start — and he certainly pitched well enough to win.
“I thought it was one of his two or three top games he pitched this season,” Coach Adair said. “He was able to hit corners and spots in the strike zone.”
Bryson Adair's off-speed pitches kept the West batters at bay, until the seventh inning when West plated five runs. The Trojan rally started on one-ball, two-strike count, as a West batter sent the offering up the box between Trent Huff and Landry Mays.
Elkhart wasn't going to go down easily in the bottom of the seventh.
Mahon reached base on a West error. Then Bryce Rodgers walked and Justin Rea was hit by a pitch to load the sacks with Elks.
Brooks Torma belted a line drive to center field, scoring both Mahon and Rodgers. But, the rally stopped at two runs, and the Trojans advanced in the postseason.
Bryson Adair, despite giving up five runs in the seventh and absorbing the loss, threw a complete game. He yielded six runs (only two earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter.
This marked the final game for three Elkhart players: Second baseman Huff, outfielder Rodgers and first baseman Rea.
Huff was a four-year starter on varsity and seen as a leader on the team. Rea and Rodgers were two-year varsity players.
Editor's Note: Read the Palestine Herald-Press in print or with your electronic edition for the game's line score.