Jags go distance, but year wraps up

After Graham’s Game 1 gem, HHS unable to contain Cardinals

Mirror report
Heritage righthander Andrew Graham delivers a pitch against Melissa in Game 1 of their best-of-three Class 4A Region II bi-district playoff series on Friday at Heritage High School. The Jaguars' season ended on Saturday as the Cardinals took the final two games of the series.

MELISSA — A Class 4A Region II bi-district baseball series filled with lots of thrilling moments ended in disappointment for the Heritage Jaguars as Melissa took the third and decisive game, 14-12, on Saturday afternoon on the Cardinals’ home field.

The Jaguars (20-9-1) opened the series with a 2-1 win on Friday at HHS, but dropped Game 2 at Melissa, 16-6, to force Game 3.

In the deciding rubber game of the series, the Jags scored at least one run in all but one inning, but it wasn’t enough as Melissa scored seven runs in the top of the fourth and made them stand up.

Heritage opened the game with a three-run first inning, but the Cardinals scored four in the top of the second and the early innings went like that until the fourth, when Melissa took the lead for good.

Hunter Trojacek finished 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, an RBI and two runs scored for the Jags. Blake Wilhoite was 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, three RBI and two runs scored; and Sam Sinclair batted 2-for-5 with a homer, a triple, three RBI and two runs scored. Brock Fuller and Andrew Graham each added two hits, combining for three RBI.

The Jags battled back in the late innings to stay within striking distance and got the potential tying run to the plate in the seventh, but a flyout to right ended the series and Heritage’s season.

Melissa advanced to play Alvarado in the area round this week.

In Game 1, Graham went the distance on the bump and struck out 10 as he held the Cardinals to one run on five hits. Graham threw 98 pitches, 64 for strikes.

All the scoring was done in the first two innings. Melissa broke on top in the first, but Sinclair doubled home Austin Walts to tie it in the home half of the first, then Caden Hawthorne sprinted home from third on a wild pitch in the second inning to give HHS the lead.

Sinclair was 2-for-3 with the RBI double to lead the Jags, who were held to five hits themselves.

Game 2 on Saturday in Melissa, however, ended in rocky fashion for HHS, who took a 5-all tie into the bottom of the fourth only to see the Cardinals pull away for a 16-6 result that ended on the run rule in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Walts, Wilhoite and Sinclair all had two hits, including an extra-base hit each, for the Jags. Four different HHS pitchers combined to throw 153 pitches and allowed 15 earned runs on 10 hits, with nine walks total.