Mistakes and missed opportunities cost the Houston Tigers a chance to defend their SCA tournament title.

Starter Lucas Cooperman struggled with his control, the outfield misplayed three crucial hits and the offense stranded seven runners in scoring position. It all added up to a 3-1 loss Tuesday to Ava in the semifinals of the SCA tournament.

“Everything we did wrong prevented us from winning this game,” Tigers coach Brent Hall said.

Houston, which beat Ava last season to win the SCA tournament, will face Mountain Grove at 6 p.m. today (Thursday) in the third-place game at Cabool High School. Ava will play Cabool, which defeated the Panthers 3-0 on Tuesday, in the championship game.

With Houston trailing 3-0 in the top of the seventh, pinch hitter Aaron Cantrell and Cooperman both walked. Kaleb Poynter followed with a soft grounder that was misplayed by the pitcher and Elias Durbin, who was reinserted into the game for Cantrell, scooted home with the Tigers’ first run.

Poynter stole second base on the next pitch to put runners at second and third with one out. But No. 3 hitter Eli Smith struck out and after Nathan McCarthy walked to load the bases, Ethan Williamson also struck out.

The Tigers, who were the visiting team despite hosting the game, stranded runners in scoring position in five different innings.

“We had a lot of opportunities,” Hall said. “We’ve got to put the ball in play and get the guy home.”

Cooperman had two of Houston’s three hits. Poynter doubled and stole a base.

Cooperman allowed just four hits and struck out seven. But he walked six batters, including the No. 9 hitter three times, and threw 121 pitches in the complete-game loss.

Hall said during the preseason that it was important for Cooperman to pound the strike zone and stay ahead of hitters. He didn’t in his 2011 debut.

“Lucas battled the whole game. He got out of a lot of tight spots and jams,” Hall said. “But he walked too many guys. When you do that, the guys behind you get back on their heels.”

The Tigers committed one error. But each of the starting outfielders misplayed potential outs into hits. Two of those hits — a second-inning triple and third-inning double — led to Ava runs.

“When you’re in tight ballgames, you have to play as flawless as you can,” Hall said. “We didn’t do that.”

Ava’s Kody Kutz gave up one unearned run and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings for the victory. He walked four.

Box score

Houston 000 000 1 — 1 3 1

Ava 012 000 x — 3 4 4

hhs (1-1) ab r h bi ahs (2-0) ab r h bi

Cprmn p 3 0 2 0 Shelton cf 4 0 0 0

Poynter 2b 3 0 1 0 Baird ss 3 0 0 0

Smith ss 4 0 0 0 Leonard 1b 3 1 1 0

McCrthy c 3 0 0 0 Casey 3b 1 2 1 0

Wllmsn 1b 3 0 0 0 Loge dh 2 0 1 1

Coulter 3b 3 0 0 0 Kutz p 2 0 1 2

Preheim rf 3 0 0 0 Coonts rf 3 0 0 0

Durbin cf 2 1 0 0 Johnson lf 3 0 0 0

Cantrell ph 0 0 0 0 Boyd c 0 0 0 0

Alston lf 3 0 0 0

Totals 27 1 3 0 Totals 21 3 4 3

2B: Poynter, Leonard. 3B: Casey. SB: Coulter, Preheim, Boyd 2, Coonts. CS: Cooperman.

houston ip h r er bb so

Cooperman, L 0-1 6 4 3 3 6 7

ava ip h r er bb so

Kutz, W 6.1 3 1 0 4 8

Johnson, S 0.2 0 0 0 1 2

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply