War Eagle seniors with their parents on Senior Night - Jack Murray, Austin Morris, Elijah Haskins, and Kolby Ervin (Photo: Jack Morton)
The 2023 Sycamore War Eagles baseball season came to an end on Saturday, May 6.
Game Day Recap:
Thursday, May 4 V. White House
District tournament play opened for the Sycamore War Eagles on Thursday, May 4, 2023, beginning with a tight matchup against the White House Heritage Patriots. While they came close to pulling out a 10-inning upset, the War Eagles fell, 5-4.
Designated hitter Nat Harris, junior, got the War Eagles off to a solid start in the top of the first inning, hitting a single up the middle and later scoring on an RBI ground out by junior David Ramirez.
Heritage started the bottom of the first inning with long doubles by A .J. Lopez and Justin Smith followed by an RBI single by Jude Griffin. Sycamore retired the next three hitters to leave Fairview runners at first and third base. The score remained 1-1 until the sixth inning behind the strong pitching of Sycamore senior Austin Morris and Heritage's Kayden Raines paired with key defensive plays by both teams.
Morris only allowed a bad-hop single and one walk through the fifth inning after surrendering three consecutive hits to begin the game. Raines only allowed three Sycamore baserunners through the fifth inning after first-inning singles by Harris and Jack Murray, senior.
The War Eagles offense came to life in the sixth with a lead-off single by Ramirez. Murray followed with a deep, hard-hit line drive into the right-field gap that looked like a sure double- but it was tracked down and caught on an outstanding play by right-fielder Cameron Jackson. Elijah Haskins, senior, walked, and Luca Morton, junior, followed with an RBI double just inside the right-field foul line to give Sycamore a 2-1 lead.
Heritage relief pitcher Peyton Kendall was immediately greeted by junior Brayden DeCamp's line-drive single into left field that drove in two more runs, bringing the score to 4-1. Junior Christian Sanders hit a single and stole second, but Sycamore was unable to produce any more runs.
Heading into the seventh, the score remained in Sycamore's favor at 4-1. Murray and Haskins had singles in the top of the seventh after two outs to pose a mild, but unproductive, scoring threat for Sycamore. Heritage's Jackson and A. J. Lopez sandwiched singles around a strikeout before Justin Smith hit a ground rule double into right field for his second RBI of the game. Sophomore Conner Jones moved from centerfield to be a relief pitcher for the War Eagles. A ground out knocked in Lopez to make the score 4-3 with a runner on third base with two outs. It appeared Sycamore was going to upset Heritage, the 7th-ranked AA team in the state, but a throwing error allowed the tying run which sent the game into extra innings.
Neither team had a runner reach base in the eighth inning, but the rollercoaster of highs and lows intensified during the remaining extra innings.
Sycamore's Morris walked in the ninth, reaching third base with two outs. Heritage had a runner reach base on an error with one out, but Sycamore pitcher Jones picked him off base and recorded the final out of the inning on a well-executed run down play.
Heritage relief pitcher Peyton Kendall held Sycamore without a hit in extra innings, but DeCamp was able to reach base on a two-out error in the tenth. Jones held Heritage hitless in the extra innings, but Heritage's Griffin reached on an error to start off the bottom of the tenth; he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and proceeded to reach third on a ground out. When Kayden Raines was at bat, he received ball four that would have set up a force-out situation for Sycamore's defense. Griffin scored the winning run on the pitch that made its way to the backstop, securing the White House Heritage victory.
Game Day Recap:
Friday, May 5 V. Harpeth
The next day, senior right-hander Kolby Ervin threw a shutout to lead Sycamore in their 4-0 win over the Harpeth Indians.
The War Eagles started things off early with a first-inning single on a 0-2 count by Luca Morton, scoring one run.
Overall, the errorless War Eagles collected nine hits with Ervin and Morris each racking up two; Haskins led the team with eight plays on the day.
Game Day Recap:
Saturday, May 6 V. White House
Saturday's 17-0 loss against White House Heritage ended the season for Sycamore, eliminating the opportunity for them to advance to regionals.
Morton, who made his first pitching start of the season took the loss for War Eagles, allowing seven runs on eight hits, striking out two and walking one. Heritage scored three unearned runs in the first inning after a base on balls and a clean bloop fly were sandwiched between two strikeouts. They added an earned run in the second inning to make the score 4-0.
After that, things went downhill for the War Eagles. Jones relieved Morton after Heritage loaded the bases with three straight singles, no outs, and no runs scored. Sycamore allowed eight runs in the third inning, and five more in the fourth.
Sycamore had several pitching changes, the last of which provided senior first baseman Haskins with his first pitching opportunity of the the season.
Sycamore did not commit a single error in the field.
(Photos: Jack Morton)