Perryville baseball team suffers heartbreaker vs. Kennett in district title game

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Perryville's Colby Brown pitches during the third inning of the Class 3 District 1 title game Wednesday.

Colby Brown, like the rest of his Perryville baseball teammates, was about as down as a young man could be.

But Brown, whose brilliant pitching nearly lifted Perryville to an unlikely district championship, knew the Pirates opened some eyes.

"I think people understand now that we can play a little bit," Brown said.

Kennett certainly understands after the heavily favored Indians needed a stunning last-inning rally to beat Perryville 3-2 in Wednesday night's Class 3 District 1 tournament final at Notre Dame.

The second-seeded Indians used three hits and three errors in the bottom of the seventh to score all their runs against the fourth-seeded Pirates.

Perryville players react to their 3-2 loss to Kennett in the Class 3 District 1 title game Wednesday. (Kristin Eberts)

"We were trying to stay positive," said Kennett senior Andy Lack, who has signed to play for Southeast Missouri State. "You just have to credit Perryville. I knew they'd come out fighting."

The Pirates (16-8), fresh off Monday's 4-2 upset of top-seeded Notre Dame, carried that momentum into the title matchup.

Solo home runs by junior Ross Moldenhauer leading off the fourth inning and senior Jared Hotop with two outs in the seventh had Kennett (21-2) in plenty of trouble.

Brown, a junior right-hander, allowed singles to the first two batters he faced.

Kennett only had one more hit through six innings as Brown entered the bottom of the seventh having retired 10 straight.

Perryville's Ross Moldenhauer throws to first to complete the double play after forcing out Kennett's Andrew Lack at second during the first inning of the Class 3 District 1 title game Wednesday. (Kristin Eberts)

"He had us really off balance," Lack said. "He had all three pitches going for him. He threw a lot of strikes."

Brown said one pitch in particular had the Indians befuddled.

"My changeup was working good," he said.

Not only was Brown pitching a gem but the Pirates also had turned in several impressive defensive plays. They were errorless through six innings.

"They made a couple great plays," Kennett coach Aaron New said. "I thought we were having good at-bats."

Things unraveled for Perryville in the bottom of the seventh.

Junior Logan Dollins led off with a single to left field.

Junior Adam Grantham, who pitched the first five innings, reached on an error when his hard-hit ground ball to third base was booted.

The situation got even tougher for Perryville when Grantham's ball also got past the left fielder for another error, allowing Dollins to score and Grantham to reach second.

Senior Thomas Stillman's single to left drove in Grantham with the tying run and Stillman took second on the throw home.

Junior Justin Smith was walked intentionally to set up a force play. Brown struck out sophomore Collin Smith.

Freshman Kevonte Mitchell's foul fly ball down the right-field line was dropped for Perryville's third error of the inning.

Mitchell made the Pirates pay when he stroked a single to right field that plated the winning run.

"They didn't surprise me," New said about the Pirates. "We watched them play Notre Dame [in the semifinals]. We knew it would be a tough game.

"Our senior leadership stepped up. We were lucky to pull it out."

All three of Kennett's runs were unearned.

Brown finished with a six-hitter. He struck out four and issued only the intentional walk.

"He pitched great," Perryville coach Don O'Keefe said. "They're a good ballclub. They got us.

"But I'm absolutely proud of these guys. I can't say anything else. Perryville High School has nothing to be down about. We're a good ballclub. We fought. I'm so proud of everything we did all year."

Brown said the Pirates are down but not out. They already are looking toward next season, when all but three seniors will return.

"They're a great team. It's definitely a tough one to lose," Brown said. "We'll use it as motivation. As coach said, the season starts tomorrow."

Perryville0001001--243
Kennett0000003--361

WP -- Cameron Wallace. LP -- Colby Brown. HR -- Ross Moldenhauer (P), Jared Hotop (P). Multiple hits -- Kennett: Wallace 2-3. Records -- Perryville 16-8, Kennett 21-2.

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