Houston coach Brent Hall stands on the field during a pitching change Monday.

SALEM — What began as a promising season faded quickly for the Houston baseball team.

The Tigers dropped seven of their last eight games as they limped to the finish line. The final defeat was a 9-4 loss Monday to Cuba in the opening round of the Class 3 District 10 tournament.

Houston opened the season with a 3-1 victory against Salem — the top seed in the district. The Tigers were the only district team to beat Salem during the regular season. But Houston (9-13) couldn’t build on the momentum and struggled with consistency throughout the year.

“It’s one of my more frustrating years record wise,” Tigers coach Brent Hall said.

Cuba topped Salem 11-10 in Tuesday’s semifinals to reach the championship game. The fourth-seeded Wildcats will face No. 3 Ava at 4 p.m. today (Thursday).

With the season over, Hall shared embraces with his four seniors: Eli Smith, Kaleb Poynter, Lucas Cooperman and Nathan McCarthy. The group started eight combined seasons and played in three district championship games and won a regular-season conference title during their careers.

“Even though our season didn’t go the way we wanted, they’ve been a part of some good things,” Hall said. “They made themselves winners playing baseball.”

Cuba’s first three batters reached base and eventually scored against Smith in the bottom of the first inning. The Wildcats scored five more times in the third to take a commanding 8-1 lead.

Smith gave up seven hits and eight runs — six earned — in 2 1/3 innings. Cooperman allowed one run over the final 3-plus innings.

Poynter went 4-for-4 with a double in his final game. Smith was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Cooperman, who hit safely in all but one game this season, doubled and scored twice.

“They hit the ball better than us, played better defensively and threw it better,” Hall said of Cuba. “They deserve to move on.”

Box score

CLASS 3 DISTRICT 10

Monday’s game

Houston 001 000 3 — 4 11 2

Cuba 305 100 x — 9 8 1

hhs (9-13) ab r h bi chs ab r h bi

Cprmn 1b 3 2 1 0 Wllms 3b 3 1 0 0

Wllmsn 2b 3 0 1 0 Kruse cf 3 2 2 1

Poynter ss 4 1 4 0 Sprgn 2b 3 1 1 0

Smith p 4 1 2 2 Thomas dh 4 2 1 0

Coulter 3b 4 0 1 0 Bouse ss 4 1 1 2

McCrthy c 2 0 0 0 Matchell 3b 4 1 2 2

Durbin rf 4 0 0 0 Nash c 3 1 0 1

Preheim lf 3 0 1 0 Thmpsn p 2 0 1 0

Cantrell cf 3 0 1 0 Burke lf 2 0 0 0

Totals 30 4 11 1 Totals 28 9 8 6

2B: Cooperman, Poynter, Spurgeon. 3B: Cantrell. SB: Poynter, Smith. SAC: Nash.

houston ip h r er bb so

Smith, L 2.1 7 8 6 1 2

Cooperman 3.2 2 1 1 3 3

cuba ip h r er bb so

Thompson 5 6 1 0 2 3

Matchell 2 5 3 3 1 2

HBP: McCarthy, Spurgeon.

Monday’s first round

Cuba 9, Houston 4

St. James 13, Mtn. Grove 3

Ava 7, Liberty 6

Tuesday’s semifinals

Cuba 11, Salem 10

Ava 10, St. James 0

Thursday’s championship

(4) Cuba vs. (3) Ava, 4 p.m.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply