The Wildcats were held to just two hits as they saw their season come to a close with a 2-1 loss to the Tishomingo County Braves in the second game of a best-of-three series in the second round of the 4A State Baseball Playoffs. Tishomingo, at 20-10, will advance to the quarterfinals of the playoffs to play the winner of the Kosciusko-New Albany series. Cleveland ended its season at 23-4.
Cleveland, who had scored 10 or more runs in a game 16 times this year, was held to just one run on four hits in its two losses to Tishomingo.
Tishomingo left hander Dustin Allen pitched a solid game for the Braves as he tossed a seven-inning complete game to earn the victory in the series clincher.
“We knew he would be nibbling the corners,” Cleveland High head coach Steve Wies said. “The only way you’re going to score is to go the other way with him. If you’re not, it’s going to be tough. We had a couple of hard hit balls, but they were hit right at them. They play good defense.”
Cleveland got a strong pitching performance from Matt Ray who gave up just two runs on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in a seven-inning complete game gem, but he fell to 5-2 on the season.
“The pitching shined for us, but it’s unfortunate that we just couldn’t get them any run support,” Wies said.
Ray and Allen were mowing the hitters down as the game was scoreless through the first four innings. In the top of the fifth, Ray hit A.J. Roaten to start off the inning. With two outs and Roaten on third, a ball got past Cleveland’s catcher and Roaten scored on the passed ball to give the Braves their first run of the game.
In the top of the sixth with two outs, Gable Butler stroked a double, and Allen roped a single to score Butler to increase the Braves’ lead to 2-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, Cleveland tried to get a rally going. Ben Woo led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a bunt from Matt Hardman. Tishomingo caught a break, however, as Woo was picked off second for the second out of the inning. Cleveland was able to get two more runners on base as Jason Young walked and Marshall Boggs hit a infield single, but the rally was stopped short as Ray struck out to keep the game at 2-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Dillon Norwood drilled a solo home run with two outs to cut Tishomingo’s lead to 2-1, but that was as close as Cleveland could get.