The College of the Ozarks Bobcats closed out their 2016 baseball season on Monday with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in 10 innings to Texas A&M-Texarkana in the A.I.I. Conference Tournament being played in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
It was a pitcher’s duel between the two right-handers—Bobcats’ freshman Collan Thrasher and Eagles’ junior Teddy Henderson—with each pitcher giving up 5 hits and striking out 6.
Both teams had opportunities—the Eagles as early at the bottom of the first, where they managed to load the bases on a single, walk and bunt base hit. Thrasher, however, maintained his composure and finished the inning with a strikeout, pick off and groundout. The Eagles also posed a threat in the bottom of the 8th with runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs but were neither were able to cross the plate.
The Bobcats opportunities came in the 3rd, 6th, 8th and 10th. In the 3rd, Tyler Whiteis singled with one out, the Eagles misplayed a Winston Rasmussen grounder, and Jacob Karlson walked, but no runs were scored. In the 6th, Karlson drove a single up the middle and Dylan Heitz walked with one out, but a strike out and ground out would end the inning. Karlson doubled with 2 outs in the top of the 8th with Heitz up to bat, but he flew out down the left field line. Finally, in the top of the 10th, Whiteis opened the inning with a single and Rasmussen executed a sac bunt, but a flyout and groundout completed the top half of the inning.
It was the bottom of the 10th that proved to be the heartbreaker. Jason Myers, who came on in relief in at the top of the 9th and offered no hits or runs, was able to coax a flyout and groundout from the first two batters. The Eagles’ freshman centerfield Cole Beckham came to the plate and on a 3-1 count hit the walk-off homerun to centerfield to end the game, as well as the Bobcats season.
Leading the Bobcats at the plate were Jacob Karlson and Tyler Whiteis, each going 2-for-4 on the day. J.D. Payne was the only other Bobcat garnering a hit.
Collan Thrasher pitched an impressive 8.0 scoreless innings and left the game with no decision. Senior Jason Myers, who has been solid in relief for the Bobcats throughout his career, unfortunately took the loss.
The Bobcats close out the 2016 season with a record of 31-24, the team’s best since 2005. Losing only 3 seniors, and having seen tremendous production and success in this year’s freshmen, the Bobcats look to be solid contenders going forward.
Pictured: Jacob Karlson (hitting) and Collan Thrasher (pitching) - Photos by Dawn Rowold