The Independence Eagles (24-12) lost at home on Friday night in a sub-state matchup against the Clarksville Wildcats (32-5) as the Wildcats rallied in their final at-bat, coming from behind to tally five runs in a 7-5 win.
“We had to find a way to get two more outs,” said Independence head coach Mike McLaury. “It was a good year for us that started out great at the beginning.”
In the top of the first inning, Independence starter Will Tobin came out strong recording a strikeout, drawing a groundout to second, and a fly out to keep the game at 0.
Independence had runners on first and second, but Clarksville starting pitcher Kyle Magrans struck out the side as the score remained tied at 0 in the bottom of the first.
Clarksville got on the board first with an RBI single in the top of the second by catcher Grayson Proctor to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Magrans continued to roll in the bottom of the second, forcing a double play and recording a strikeout to hold the margin 1-0.
In the top of the third, Independence pitcher Tobin recorded two strikeouts and a fly out to keep the Wildcats off the board 1-0.
Clarksville starter Magrans stalled a rally in the bottom of the third, stranding a runner on base after a caught fly out. An assist from the center fielder on a throw to home plate turned a double play. The inning ended on a strikeout keeping the Eagles behind 1-0.
Tobin retired the side in order for the Eagles in the top of the fourth, drawing two pop outs and a groundout to keep the Wildcats at bay 1-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Eagles gained the lead on a two run RBI single by first baseman Cooper Hargrove to go ahead 2-1.
Tobin continued to roll in the top of the fifth by drawing a fly out, groundout and a strikeout to hold the lead at 2-1.
“He threw 84 tough pitches and battled,” said Coach McLaury.
Independence tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth inning with an RBI double by catcher Grant Morgan to extend their lead 3-1.
In the top of the sixth, the Wildcats drew within a run on an RBI single from second baseman Cade Ross to cut into the Eagles lead 3-2.
The Eagles answered right back in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single from Jack Baughman and Aiden Justice to stretch their lead to 5-2.
Clarksville came back strong in the top of the seventh, scoring five runs in the frame on a wild pitch, a three run homer by starting pitcher Kyle Magrams and an RBI groundout to the shortstop by Gavin Baxter to grab the advantage, 7-5.
Independence had a chance to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the seventh, but stranded two runners on base, falling to the Wildcats 7-5.
Clarksville will advance to the state tournament.
Independence ends their season with the loss.
“We started out the season 10-1 or 11-1 and played really good defense,” said Coach McLaury. “Then we hit a stretch where we did not play good defense and walked too many. We played hard, they played hard, and unfortunately they got us. Hopefully we can get two outs next year.”