Playing in their third consecutive district title game as defending district champions, the second-seeded Eagles baseball team matched up against tournament number-one seed Barstow in the Class 3, District 14 championship game at Barstow High School on Monday, May 15, with Barstow winning by the final score of 8-1.
Early fielding miscues by Holden aided the Knights as Barstow took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Barstow added another four runs the following frame to go up 8-0.
“We just didn’t give ourselves much of a chance as we seemed to forget how to catch or field a baseball for the first three innings,” said Holden baseball coach Charlie Castle. “We had six errors in those first three innings, and it’s nearly impossible to overcome that against a good team.”
The Eagle errors put pressure on Holden starting pitcher Aiden Morarity with each passing miscue. That was the trend throughout the season when Morarity took to the hill in starts. The junior first team all-conference player Morarity suffered notable losses due to a combination of Holden errors, and lack of offensive support to Higginsville and Odessa earlier in the season.
“Unfortunately, all of the dud defensive games happened when Aiden Morarity was pitching,” noted coach Castle. “This year, in 33 1/3 innings pitched, teams scored 24 runs off of him with only five being earned. He pitched so much better than his record of 3-4. He had a 1.05 ERA with 20 walks, and 63 strikeouts while giving up just 20 hits. It was just one of those bad luck things that should correct itself with a fresh start next season.”
Holden’s lone run in the district championship game occurred in the fifth inning after Tyler Barker drew a walk with two outs. A double by Justin Brown scored Barker before the inning was ended by a fly out by Wes Brown.
In Holden’s district semifinal win over St. Michael the Archangel, Barker started a six-run third inning by hitting a leadoff single.
“We scored our lone run of the game in the fifth when Justin Brown doubled home Tyler Barker, who had walked earlier in the inning,” described coach Castle. “We didn’t have many scoring opportunities before that. I think the Barstow pitcher retired the first 10 batters in order before Kale Tryon had one of his two hits on the day.”
Wes Brown would relieve Morarity on the mound. Brown arrived to fight the fire in the third inning with two runners on, and no outs.
“One highlight of the day was that freshman Wes Brown was lights out in relief,” said coach Castle. “He went four innings of shutout ball on two hits with one walk, and three strikeouts. Both Wes and another freshman, Cohen Drake have a chance to be dominant for the next three years.”
Holden showed signs of attempting a comeback as multiple base runners after Barker’s score offered opportunities to cut into Barstow’s lead. A diving stop by the Knights’ first baseman on a sharp ground ball hit by Eagle batter Lane Siemer for the third out of the sixth inning took the wind out of Holden’s comeback sails. Tryon, Morarity, and Carson Gard were stranded after the highlight reel stop of the ball.
“The diving play the first baseman made to take away a two-run hit down the line from Lane Siemer in the bottom of the sixth was a terrific play,” said coach Castle. “If that ball got through, it would have made it at least 8-3 with two runners still in scoring position. Another hit, and it could have gotten real interesting.”
The Holden baseball team ends the season with an overall record of 17-9, and an MRVC-East mark of 7-3.