SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A first ever appearance in the Final Four of the state baseball tournament wasn’t meant to be for the Nevada Tigers.
A two-run home run by Logan Ripper in the seventh inning lifted Springfield Catholic to a 2-0 victory over Nevada in a Class 4 quarterfinal on Thursday at Catholic High School.
The champs of District 12 who beat Monett 13-2 in the sectional round of the state tourney, Nevada ends the season with a record of 19-10.
Springfield Catholic (20-7) will take on Excelsior Springs (28-12) at 7 on Wednesday, May 31 in a semifinal contest at Sky Bacon Stadium in Ozark.
Nevada was in the quarterfinal round of the state tourney for the first time since 1995.
Both starting pitchers, Nevada’s Case Sanderson and Catholic’s Coleman Morrison, kept the opposition at bay for most of the game.
The home team on the scoreboard, the Tigers had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the second, as Riddick Shook, Hunter Seaver and Kellan Ast all walked to load the bases with no outs.
But Morrison struck out both Kennedy D’Elia and Barrett Nadurata and then induced an inning-ending fly ball off the bat of Drake Ketterman to end the threat.
With the game still scoreless, Nevada threatened again in the bottom of the sixth.
Sanderson ripped a single to center field in what was Nevada’s first hit of the game. After Cade Beshore was retired, Caden Klumpp reached on an infield single to put two runners on with one out.
But Catholic’s Morrison struck out Shook and got Seaver to pop out to get out of trouble.
In the top of the seventh, Catholic sophomore second baseman Colin Soetaert walked before Ripper, a senior catcher, connected with a fastball for a two-run home run over the fence in left field.
Nevada’s Kellan Braden drew a walk with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but he was stranded.
Despite the loss, Sanderson was stellar on the mound. A senior southpaw who is headed to play for Nebraska, Sanderson allowed two runs on five hits in 6 1/2 innings. Sanderson struck out 12 and walked three before reaching his pitch count (105) in the top of the seventh. Klumpp recorded the final two outs.
Morrison allowed just two hits, both in the sixth, and five walks and struck out 14 in the complete-game gem.
Ranked fifth in the Class 4 by the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association, the Fightin’ Irish knocked off top-ranked Rogersville 2-1 in their district title game and then beat Eldon 5-1 in the sectional round to advance to the quarterfinals.
Catholic finished second in Class 3 last year before bumping up to Class 4 this season.