By Gene Nardi
On Tuesday, May 10, the Seminole Ridge High School varsity baseball team hosted Hagerty High School in the Class 8A regional finals, but fell short 4-0 before what was believed to be the largest crowd in Hawks baseball history.
What the Hawks did do this season is make history. They won the district crown for the first time, made a regional finals appearance and finished the season with an impressive 21-6-1 record. “Right now, we’re hurting real bad, but in a couple of weeks we’ll grow to appreciate what a great season we had,” head coach Trent Pendergast said. “We had a great group of kids.”
The game was close early, despite the Huskies taking a 1-0 lead entering the second inning. By the top of the fourth inning, the score remained 1-0 with both teams struggling to make any headway on offense, due mostly in part to strong defensive play by both teams in the field.
The top of the fourth inning looked as if the Hawks would turn over another run, but stellar outfield play by Joey Schergen and pitcher Kyle Farjad diffused the situation. The Hagerty batter snapped a line drive down left field that hit the fence. Schergen quickly recovered the ball, holding the runner at third. With two outs, Farjad retired the next batter from the mound to avoid a two-run deficit.
The top of the fifth inning proved difficult for the Hawks after struggling at the plate to get the equalizing run. Confusion in the infield resulted in the Huskies adding to their tally, making it 2-0.
The bottom of the fifth inning looked as if the Hawks would work their magic, connecting with the ball at the plate. The Huskies outfield would not have it, though, and put together an impressive display of defense. The Hawks clawed back, getting runners on second and third with hopes of equalizing, but they were sitting on two outs, and eventually were denied the chance to send runs in by a closed-fisted Hagerty defense.
Farjad came up big for the Hawks again on the mound in the sixth inning to get his team back into the game, but the top of the seventh kicked the Hawks into a deeper hole. Hagerty, again, with two outs and runners on second and third, slapped a two-run triple down the left-field line. The play pushed the Huskies to a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
Seminole Ridge knew it needed big plays at the plate from its last at-bat, but fell short 4-0 to a solid Hagerty defense.
“We had chances all night,” Pendergast said. “We had guys on pretty much every inning. We just couldn’t get the clutch hit when we needed it.”
The Hawks will revel in making school history despite the loss. They put together a team with chemistry that earned them the District 12-8A championship, and a regional finals appearance.
“These kids were a great group, not just player-wise, but kid-wise, and they had great chemistry,” Pendergast said.
ABOVE: C.J. Bottiglieri slides in to second base after a line drive hit.