Ninth-Inning Rally Stalls as Owls Fall in AMC Championship
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Despite a furious ninth-inning rally, the William Woods University baseball team came up just short in its bid to repeat as AMC Postseason Tournament champions, falling 7-9 to Missouri Baptist University on Thursday. Brian Carr went 2 for 5 with two RBI in the contest with Austin Clapp also driving in a pair of runs.
WWU opened up the scoring in the top of the first, as Derek Fletcher drew a leadoff walk, moving to second as Jacob Harrison grounded out to third. Damon Adrian came on as a courtesy runner for Fletcher, scoring courtesy of a Carr double. Derek McCawley moved Carr up with a grounder to short, but the Owls stranded the runner as Matt Thomas grounded out to the first-baseman.
Missouri Baptist immediately answered, pouring four runs on in the bottom of the first and adding four more in the bottom of the third courtesy of a pair of two-run home runs.
The Owls pulled one run back in the top of the fifth, but the Spartans were equal to the task, stretching the lead back out to 2-9 with a singlet in the bottom of the fifth.
William Woods broke through slightly in the top of the seventh, as Fletcher led off with a single. Adrian came on as a courtesy runner as Harrison legged out a bunt single to put two runners on. A double steal gave the Owls their first run of the inning, as Adrian was able to continue home after Todd Glime's throw to third was off the mark. Harrison moved up to third as Carr grounded out to second, with a single from McCawley scoring Harrison. A single from Thomas put runners on the corners, but Chris Fletcher grounded into a double play to end the inning.
After retiring the Spartans in order in the bottom of the frame, WWU tried to threaten in the top of the eighth, but Clapp was picked off after reaching base on an error.
The Owls managed to keep MBU off the board in the bottom of the eighth as well, turning a double play and getting Ryan Barban to line out to right after Patrick Johnson reached on an error.
Derek Fletcher opened the rally with a leadoff double, with Adrian advancing to third as a courtesy runner on a wild pitch. Harrison walked to put runners on the corners, with a Carr groundout to short plating Adrian. Walks to McCawley and Chris Fletcher sandwiched a strikeout by Thomas to load the bases, with Clapp looping a single to right center to cut the deficit to 7-9. Unfortunately, that would be the final score as well, as Robert Butvin (Mantua, Ohio) struck out to end the game.
William Woods finishes the season at 36-19. The American Midwest Conference all-conference and Gold Glove teams were announced following the game as well, with the Owls earning four First Team selections and three members of the Gold Glove team.