Red Level ends season against Leroy in second round of playoffs

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, April 29, 2023

Red Level fell short to Leroy in a second-round 1A state playoff doubleheader at home Wednesday, April 26.

The Bears improved to 18-17 with the sweep and advanced to the quarterfinal round, while the Tigers finished the season with a 10-9 record.

Game 1
Brayden Huebner led off the first game with a single and moved into scoring position on a single from Wilson Busby. Huebner scored the initial run of the game with two outs before Busby was caught stealing third. Buddy Griffin began the bottom half with a walk and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Javen Poindexter. Walker Simmons followed with a walk as Caleb Padgett brought home Griffin on an RBI double. Simmons crossed the plate on a throwing error for a 2-1 lead after one.

Sawyer Sullivan delivered a one-out single in the visiting second, but Poindexter turned a 6-3 double play. Kennith Huckabaa earned a free pass and went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Tracy Coxwell. Huebner then stranded Huckabaa in scoring position with two strikeouts. Huebner and Kaleb Giles began a two-out rally with back-to-back singles and put runners at the corners. LHS evened the score at 2-2 with an RBI single by Busby, but Padgett threw out Giles at second. RLS responded in its half with four runs on two hits. Poindexter walked and set up a single from Simmons. Connor Blackwell cashed in an RBI single before Simmons scored on a wild pitch. Blackwell scored on an error, and Grayson Hodges raced home on a passed ball for a 6-2 lead after three innings.

The Bears scored eight runs in the top of the fourth with two outs and seized control. John Foster and Rylon Moore cut the deficit to 6-4 with consecutive hit-by-pitches. Huebner then tied the contest at 6-6 with a two-run single before four straight hits pushed the lead to 10-6. After two strikeouts in the bottom half, Simmons slashed a single for RLS and took third on an error. Huebner preserved the lead with a groundout.

Leroy pushed across three runs in the top of the fifth. Padgett led off the home portion with a walk before a double play. Huckabaa reached first on a miscue and advanced to second on a single by Coxwell. Brady Keith maintained the 13-6 lead with a strikeout.

The visitors continued their offensive onslaught with eight runs in the top of the sixth and took a 21-6 lead. Griffin led off the bottom of the frame with a walk before Keith induced two groundouts and a flyout. Simmons went 2-for-3 with two runs scored as Coxwell and Padgett each finished 1-for-1. Blackwell was 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Skipper gave up nine earned runs on seven hits and struck out two in 3 2/3 innings.

Game 2
Griffin started the second game with a single until Sullivan struck out two and recorded a flyout. Huebner reached third on an error in the bottom half and scored on an RBI single from Giles. Blackwell eluded further damage and kept the score 1-0 after one inning. Poindexter and Padgett walked in the top of the second before Hodges was hit by a pitch and loaded the bases. Sullivan nearly escaped but walked Griffin and brought home Poindexter with the tying run. Sullivan then led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout. Foster grounded out as an error took the score to 2-1 after two innings.

Red Level could not take advantage of walks to Simmons and Poindexter in the top of the third. Blackwell retired the side in order on six pitches. Coxwell lined a one-out single in the fourth and advanced 90 feet on a miscue, but a pair of flyouts thwarted the rally. Leroy earned breathing room with a six-spot in its half for an 8-1 lead. Blackwell tripled in the fifth, and Padgett walked before the Tigers were turned away. Back-to-back walks to Sullivan and Giles set up a single from Foster in the bottom of the frame. Moore and Huebner knocked RBI singles before Giles delivered a sacrifice fly and gave the Bears an 11-1 win.

Coxwell and Griffin were each 1-for-2 at the plate, while Blackwell finished 1-for-3. Blackwell allowed 10 runs (four earned) on six hits and struck out one in four innings.