Tigers toppled by O'Hara in home finale

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nevada Daily Mail

The Nevada Tigers fell to the Kansas City O'Hara Celtics 5-2 in their regular-season home finale, Monday afternoon.

The loss drops Nevada to 7-16 (4-5 West Central Conference). The victory improves O'Hara to 13-12 overall and 6-4 in the WCC.

Nevada starting pitcher Andrew Heathman encountered early trouble, as his first pitch of the game hit Celtics shortstop Zach Drake. Heathman would load the bases before recording the first out of the inning, as he caught Ryan Adams looking with a pitch on the lower inside corner of the plate.

O' Hara's next batter, Derek Jordan, punched a single into shallow center field, plating Drake for a 1-0 Celtics advantage.

O'Hara extended its lead to 2-0 after Nevada center fielder Tanner Handly over-ran what should have been a routine fly ball.

In the bottom of the first inning Nevada's two-hole hitter Tyler Ketterman, reached base via a one out walk issued by O'Hara starting pitcher Conner Lynch. Ketterman then advanced to second base courtesy of a wild pitch.

With a team-leading 20 RBIs, Heathman was unable to bring home Ketterman, as he was caught looking on a third strike for the second out of the inning. Ketterman however, was able to take third base on a Lynch wild pitch.

Ketterman was left stranded on third base, as the inning ended on a Trey Pritchett ground out.

"It was the same mental mistakes we've seen all season long," Nevada coach Danny Penn said. "We had runners in scoring position with less than two outs ---- and the things you cannot let happen are a strike out or pop up. And we had both, and kind of shot ourself in the foot a couple of times."

With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Nevada freshman Braeden Hinton singled down the right field line. Then, fellow freshman Branden Harder reached on a bloop single, moving Hinton to second base.

O'Hara nearly ended the inning with a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of senior Austin Fox, however, the throw to first base was off target. Hinton, who was on third base, was held up during the errant throw.

With two outs and runners on first and third, a leaping catch by the O'Hara second baseman robbed Nevada sophomore Myles McNeley of an RBI base hit, while also ending the inning.

A pitching change was made in the bottom of the third inning, as Lynch was replaced by O'Hara junior Jason Lay.

Lay walked Handly on four pitches, but was able to emerge from the inning unscathed.

With one out in the top of the fifth inning, O'Hara senior Carter Halil crushed a Heathman pitch down the left field line, for a double.

The lead increased to 4-0 when O'Hara's Michael Briggs slugged a Heathman pitch over the left-center field fence.

"What could have been a 2-2 game, turns into a 4-0 game," Penn said.

The Celtics tacked on another run in the top of the fifth, courtesy of a Lynch RBI single, as the Celtics grabbed a 5-0 lead.

The Tigers sliced into the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, when catcher Brett Mitchell dropped a base hit into shallow left field, scoring Handly from third base, making the score 5-1.

Lay was able to get out of the fifth, and had little trouble with the Tiger lineup in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Still trailing by four runs, and down to their final out, Nevada tried to mount a rally. Heathman started the party with a double into deep center field. Pritchett followed with a double into left field, scoring Heathman from second base to cut the O'Hara lead to 5-2.

Mitchell followed with a single. With runners on first and second base, Hinton grounded out to end the game.

"We finally put together some quality swings in the last couple of innings," Penn said. "Unfortunately, early in the game we were slow to adjust to the pitching they were throwing at us."

After the game, Penn said his squad exhibited excellent sportsmanship.

"We were a very classy team," he said. "We were not talking trash. We played the game the right way today. Unfortunately they didn't.

"I am very proud of the gentleman I get to coach. They are fine, upstanding young men, who play the game the right way ---- who respect their opponents, who respect the game, and respect the umpires.

"And unfortunately you don't always face other teams who do those same things."

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