Cole Messina’s 12th home run of the season came in dramatic fashion, but wasn’t enough to keep the Green Wave Baseball team’s season alive.
Summerville was trailing Dutch Fork 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning of a Class AAAAA Lower State elimination game May 6 at Green Wave Park when Messina stepped to the plate. The sophomore catcher sent a booming homerun over the left-field fence to plate three runs for a 4-4 tie.
Senior shortstop Brodie Blanton then singled to put the go-ahead run on base. Unfortunately for Green Wave fans, the next batter hit into a double play to push the game into an extra inning.
Dutch Fork scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning and retired the first three batters in the bottom of the frame to claim an 8-4 victory and eliminate Summerville from the playoffs. The Silver Foxes advance to face River Bluff in the Lower State championship series and must win twice in order to advance to the 5A state championship series.
“That seventh inning was a microcosm of our season,” Summerville coach Bo Charpia said. “We finished third in our region because we had a couple of bad nights during our region schedule so we came into (the playoffs) as a third seed. We got down early in our district bracket but fought our way out of it like gangbusters. That fight showed in the seventh inning tonight. Two guys find a way on base and Cole comes up and is Mr. Clutch like he has been all year. But tonight just wasn’t our night.”
Summerville took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first and held the lead until Dutch Fork tied the game in the top of the fifth.
The Silver Foxes loaded the bases in the top of the seventh off one hit and two errors. The visitors then pushed three runs across the plate with a fielder’s choice, a walk and a sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the seventh, TJ Tillman received a base on balls and Brandon Powell singled to bring Messina to the plate for his game-tying homerun.
Senior AC Heaton handled most of the pitching for Summerville and struck out seven batters while walking four and only allowing two earned runs in 7.1 innings. He surrendered five of Dutch Forks’ eight hits in the game before he met his pitch count limit and had to be relieved.
Ahman Tucker and Sean O’Brien both pitched in the top of the eighth and allowed three hits and three earned runs.
Summerville also tallied eight hits. Messina led the way, going 3 for 3 at the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored. Blanton was 3 for 4.
Summerville fell to 22-11 with the loss. The team will graduate six seniors from the team and most of them were starters.
“The fight our seniors have shown and the leadership they have shown will be missed,” Charpia said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of those guys. They are the best. We fought all year. We had to find some young pitching and we do have some young kids coming up through our program so the future is bright, but we had good senior leadership as well. That healthy mix allowed us to fight out of that loser’s bracket and beat Chapin twice in one night which many people thought couldn’t be done.”
Summerville had to earn back-to-back wins at Chapin to claim the District 5 Championship and advance to the Lower State round. The Green Wave did that convincingly, earning a 7-0 shutout and a 10-0 shutout.
The Green Wave opened the Lower State series with a 12-7 win at St. James. Brody Hopkins pitched the first three innings and Drew Thomas pitched the final four.
Summerville outhit the home team 12-9. Messina, Hopkins and Heaton were all 2 for 4 at the plate and Daniel Hupp was 2 for 5. Jordan Loving, Beef Shaw, Pedro Rios, Tillman and Powell also each had a hit. Hopkins, Heaton and Tillman all had two RBIs.
On May 4, Summerville suffered a 9-3 loss at River Bluff to fall into the Lower State loser’s bracket. The Green Wave only trailed by a run entering the fourth inning, but River Bluff scored four runs in the sixth and held on for the victory.
Tripp White, Colin Grooms and O’Brien pitched for Summerville.
The Green Wave tallied five hits to River Bluff’s 10. Messina was 2 for 3 with a run scored and Blanton was 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. Powell had the other Summerville hit and scored the other Summerville run.