Columbia drops sectional final heartbreaker - Republic-Times | News

Columbia drops sectional final heartbreaker

By on June 6, 2018 at 3:42 pm

The Eagles won 28 straight games and claimed their first regional championship since 2007. (John Spytek photo)

The Columbia High School baseball team ended its season with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Triad in the Class 3A Centralia Sectional title game Saturday. 

The defeat snapped a 28-game winning streak for the Eagles, who finished with a record of 30-4.

The Eagles had a leadoff hitter reach base in each of the first five innings, but were only able to score one run.

Columbia took that 1-0 lead into the sixth inning behind strong pitching by Shane Wilhelm. 

The Knights tied it in the sixth on a home run, however, and the game went into extra innings. 

“I thought coming into the game that if we could keep them in the ballpark, it would be in our favor,” Columbia head coach Neal O’Donnell said. “The home run definitely changed the game, but we had plenty of opportunities.”

Triad, who held the Eagles to just four hits on the day, scored on a bases loaded wild pitch in the eighth inning to win it.

Wilhelm, a junior who has already committed to play at Mizzou, allowed just four hits over seven and one-third innings pitched, striking out nine while walking only two.

“I don’t think we could have asked for anything more from him on the mound,” O’Donnell said. “He pitched a great game.  We just couldn’t get enough offense to support his outing.” 

The Eagles coach said the big hit just didn’t come for his team on this day.

“We had chances to score early in the game, and our situational hitting just didn’t get the job done,” O’Donnell said. “We took good at-bats, ran the pitch count up for their starter, but couldn’t get the big hit to break things open. If we could have scored a run or two in the early innings, it may have changed the game, especially with the way Wilhelm was throwing…>>>

Read the rest of this article in the June 6, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.