In a dramatic back-and-forth affair, a Providence comeback attempt fell just short in a 6-5 loss to Eastern in the finals of the Class 2A Providence Sectional on Saturday.
“They earned and deserved to win, because they stayed close with us through the first few innings,” Providence coach Scott Hornung said. “They hung around enough to feel that it was a tight ballgame, which it was.”
The Musketeers did all of their damage in the top of the fifth inning. With Providence ahead 3-0, the bottom of Eastern’s order got things going with back-to-back hits by Jacob Hornung and Drew Logue. After Jason Allen successfully bunted an 0-2 pitch by Brenden Popson to move the runners up, Hornung scored and Logue went to third on a Popson wild pitch to make it 3-1.
The Eastern inning continued with an RBI single by Dustin Miller, who moved up when Kaleb Nicholson reached on a Providence fielding error.
The big hit of the inning came with the bases juiced and two outs. With Cristian Ensley on the mound, Josh Gillespie worked the count full before hitting a flare up the middle to plate two runs. Andrew Hunt’s throw from center field missed the cut-off man to allow another runner across, and Gillespie came home when Nick Campbell’s attempt to catch the big Musketeer at third went into left field, making it a 6-3 advantage for the visitors.
“We threw the ball around at the end of that play, but the result happened because they were able to get big hits in the situation that they were in,” Coach Hornung said. “They deserved that.”
The Pioneers slowly chipped away at the lead. After going down in order in the home fifth, Providence got a run in the sixth when George Knott doubled and Campbell drove him in on a base hit, and another in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Justin Starr with the bases loaded and one away. But Miller recovered from the threat to strike out Knott looking on three pitches to end the threat and the game.