Bennett Clips Decatur, 5-3, In Regionals

BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s varsity baseball team ran out of gas this week and fell to fellow Bayside Conference rival Bennett, 5-3, in the state 3A South Section I title game.

The Seahawks were the top seed in the sectional and earned a first-round bye. Decatur was scheduled to play fifth-seeded Northeast on Monday, but the threat of inclement weather moved the game to Tuesday. The Seahawks took care of business on Tuesday, setting the stage for a matchup with Bennett, which beat Northern in its opener.

The game started well for the Seahawks, who led 3-1 after three innings, but in the top of the fourth, Bennett rallied for three runs to take the lead. A leadoff walk followed by a Decatur error put runners on first and second with no outs. A successful sacrifice bunt but runners on second and third with no outs and the next batter walked. Bennett got a base hit down the right field line to score two runs to tie the game at 3-3. A base hit to left scored the runner from third and Bennett led, 4-3.

Decatur had at least two runners on in each of the final three innings, but couldn’t break through. In the fourth, Ryan Bennett drew a two-out walk and Brooks Holloway followed with a single, but the runners were stranded. In the bottom of the fifth, The first two batters reached after getting hit by pitches, but on a sacrifice bunt by the next batter, the Bennett pitcher got the force at third. Runners were stranded on first and second in the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Ryan Bennett was hit by a pitch with one out and Holloway followed with a single. Again, the runners were stranded on first and second. Bennett added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Justin Meekins started with a leadoff single and Tristan McDonough reached based on a misplayed pop-up to shallow left, but the runners were left stranded as Bennett celebrated.