MORAVIA — The Mohawks had their chances, they just couldn’t capitalize on them. Moravia stranded 17 runners on base in a nine-inning 7-2 defeat to Lamoni on Thursday.
Lamoni would strike first in the third inning, taking advantage of a pair of Moravia errors to bring across the first two runs of the game.
Moravia had their chances in every inning, stranding at least one runner in every inning and at least two in seven of the nine innings. They would eventually come through in the sixth inning.
With two outs in the inning, it looked like the Mohawks might again strand runners on base. But an errant throw on a routine ground ball would end the scoring drought and score Gage Hanes. Casey Smith then stepped up to the plate and deposited a RBI single to left field to tie the game at two.
Cason Butz, who got the start, came back out for the seventh inning and was able to get through it without any damage. He was solid all night and up pitching seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Moravia looked to be in business in the bottom of the seventh with a chance to walk it off. Matthew Seals started the inning with a leadoff walk and would advance to second on an Alex Benjamin sacrifice bunt. But the next two Mohawk batters would strikeout to send this one to extra innings.
Hunter Arbogast would replace Butz on the mound for the eighth inning and would get into some trouble with Lamoni loading the bases with one out. Arbogast would respond well by striking out the next batter to get to two outs.
Arbogast was able to get the next batter into a two-strike count when Lamoni took a huge gamble and tried to steal home. Arbogast would miss on his pitch and catcher Bryce Kaster would dive out from behind the plate to tag the runner out and end the dangerous situation.
Moravia had another chance to win the game in the bottom of the eighth with the winning run on third with one out. Smith came up and smacked what looked to be the winning hit off the bat, but a sliding grab by the centerfielder in shallow center would hold the runner at third.
Wil Martin then came up but would ground to third and be beaten by half-a-step on the throw to end another golden opportunity.
Lamoni broke the game open with five runs in the top of the ninth led by Stephen Ansong’s bases clearing double with the bases loaded and two outs.
Moravia got a couple of runners on base again in the bottom of the inning but Lamoni would hold off any attempt of a rally to win the game.
The Mohawks were patient at the plate, which helped them and hurt them in some situations. They were able to draw 11 walks but also struck out looking six times on the night.
On a different note, Benjamin made a slick diving catch on Lamoni’s Landon Gilliland hit to left-center field in the fifth inning. Gilliland would show great sportsmanship, tipping his helmet to Benjamin after the play and making sure to stop by the Moravia dugout in-between innings to give him his admiration.
Moravia (0-2) are back at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Twin Cedars (0-1).