The 2014 baseball season has ended for the Paden City Wildcats, but the Green and White gave the game their very best effort until the very end, making a nice run in the Sectional tournament, only to fall short.
Paden City started their Sectional journey with a quick win over Cameron, 12-2 in five quick innings.
Isaac Hall got the win for the 'Cats on the mound, striking nine batters out and walking two.
At the plate, Hayden Hizer doubled for an RBI; Luke Cooper hit a grand slam home run, plating four batters; Zach Heasley doubled and singled; Hall hit one double for two RBIs; Andrew Dennis hit one single to bring home a run; and Kennedy Cain hit two singles for two RBIs.
The win eliminated the Dragons from the tournament, leaving only Paden City and Magnolia remaining to vie for the championship.
Though they had lost to the Magnolia Blue Eagles in an earlier round of the tournament, the 'Cats felt they were poised in a good position to give the Eagles a good test in the final rounds. And in one of the most exciting match-ups of the season, the Wildcats gave the well seasoned Eagles all they wanted and more.
In the first inning, Magnolia scored a run to take the lead, 1-0 over the Green and White, but were quickly answered with Paden City scoring three quick ones to take the lead, 4-1. With the 'Cats holding on to their lead and keeping Magnolia at bay in the next few innings, the tide turned when the Eagles scored six runs in the sixth.
But in the top of the seventh, the 'Cats stayed strong and played strong enough to plate four more runs again to take the lead. With victory just a taste away, the Eagles stayed steady and went ahead in the next inning to eventually take the win, 9-8, and the Sectional championship.
"It was as exciting a game as we've ever been part of," said Paden City head coach Brent Croasmun. "Of course we'd have rather got the win, that would have iced the cake, but all in all, our boys played very well, and we held our own."
"I was very proud of them. They played with heart and it showed."
"It was a tough one to lose. But I'm so proud of them, not only the way they played in this game, but how they never let down in our preparation for the Sectionals."
"They were ready to play and ready to win."
Cooper went five-and-a-third innings on the mound for the 'Cats, striking out four batters and issuing four walks. Levi Meadows came on for a third of an inning and Kyle Postlethwait finished up at the pitcher's position, striking out two.
Offensively, Hizer hit a single, a double, and nice home run to the right field in the game. Meadows singled for an RBI; Cooper hit two singles to score a run; and Cain singled for an RBI.
The Wildcats ended the season with an 11-14 record, and are set to carry on their successes of this year to next. The team will lose only two seniors to graduation, Postlethwait and Tyler Stackpole, and expect to return everybody else on the team, all with vast game experience.
"This team has really grown up throughout the season," the coach said. "We'll probably add a few freshmen next year, but the guys we have coming back are who we will count on for wins next year."
"We'll continue to play a tough as schedule as we have this year, and I think that will pay off come the post season."