Mid-South Regional Tournament Summary
Retif Drops 8-2 Loss in Elimination Game
Game 2: Thursday, August 3
LOSS – Retif (2) vs. North Mississippi (8)
Eleven hits to Retif’s one, two errors, and two runs. The scoreboard at John Ryan Stadium last night looked identical to the one at Kirsch-Rooney the night before.
Retif Oil was eliminated from the Mid-South Regional on Thursday night after suffering an 8-2 loss to the North Mississippi Indians.
“This [game] was like a carbon copy of last night’s game; the only difference was, tonight we fell into an early hole, whereas last night was more of a late-inning hole,” head coach Joey Latino said. “We just didn’t have the offensive punch to come back once we’re 4 or 5 runs down.”
Pitcher Lee Blosser retired two batters to start the game against the North Mississippi Indians (19-7), but after the third batter singled and stole second, the impetus remained in the third base dugout for good. Indians’ cleanup hitter Hayden Palmer hit an RBI triple to right center field and scored on the following RBI single. The Oilers trailed the rest of the game.
Blosser gave up two runs in the first, saving himself from a potential third run by picking off a runner stealing third. The cleanup hitter Palmer turned on another one of Blosser’s pitches two innings later, this time a 2-RBI double to left field. Left fielder and leadoff hitter Michael Torry was injured and carted off the field on the play. Torry had scored a run in the first inning after a leadoff single, which was Retif’s lone hit. The Mississippi state champions added another three runs on three hits in the momentous third inning.
Kaden Knecht relieved Blosser in the top of the fourth and pitched back-to-back strikeouts. Knecht allowed no runs in the fourth and just one in the fifth, which brought in Will Hellmers. An Oiler fielding error cost the club another run in the sixth. Hellmers walked the next better, but with a man on first and second and two outs, the defense held up and made the third out to avoid a multi-run inning. Hellmers pitched impressively for the remainder of the game, recording seven strikeouts in just four innings. The Oilers had a chance to make a run in the seventh inning with two runners on base, but the Indians’ outfielder caught Matt Alexander‘s line drive that traveled straight to center field.
Retif (18-11), who won the Mid-South in 2015, entered its third tournament appearance in four years as host team and automatic qualifier. Unlike past years this team was younger than ever with one rising junior, four rising sophomores, and one rising freshman in the starting lineup.
“I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but it all goes back to our youth. We’re just not mature enough to respond to these types of situations,” Latino explained. “We’re playing older, more experienced clubs, and it showed. While the future is bright, there is still going to be a struggle to get there.”
Braves Down Oilers 7-2 in First Round
Game 1: Wednesday, August 2
LOSS – Retif (2) vs. Oklahoma (7)
In the final game of Mid-South Regional first round play, Retif lost 7-2 to Oklahoma’s championship team, the Ada Braves, at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium on Wednesday night. The Oilers proved to be their own worst enemy, producing more errors (2) than hits (1) and leaving several base runners stranded (9).
The two-edged sword of not allowing runs yet not scoring runs has pierced this young squad throughout the postseason. This would be the story of their Mid-South tournament opener, as Retif (18-10) could not hang with Ada Post 72 (35-9) down the stretch. Through four scoreless innings, the action in the fifth broke the deadlock.
The Braves scored five more runs in the sixth, which included a Retif fielding error. The Oilers snagged two runs in the top of the ninth after a hit batter and a pair of walks loaded the bases. Center fielder Michael Torry followed with an RBI walk, and Matt Alexander added the second run on an RBI sacrifice fly. Collin Miller’s single in the fifth accounted for Retif’s only base hit. Pitcher Christian Hess, who allowed two of the 6 earned runs, took the loss with three strikeouts.
Retif now matches up against the North Mississippi Indians (MS Champion) in Thursday’s second elimination game, which due to rain was delayed and moved to John Ryan Stadium. The estimated first pitch is at 2:30 p.m. and will start 30 minutes following the conclusion of Game 5 (GameTracker).