By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
SENECA, Mo. —
Warrensburg, lifted by a tying two-run seventh inning without a hit, outlasted Seneca 8-5 in 10 innings in the sectional round of the MSHSAA Class 4 baseball playoffs on Wednesday.
The Tigers were held to a harmless single after the third inning until garnering four safeties in the top of the 10th at the Seneca Baseball/Softball Complex.
The Tigers (14-6) visit Rogersville at 5 p.m. today in the quarterfinal round. Big 8 Conference champion Seneca wound up 20-5.
Two-run homers by Dalan Merriman, who finished 5-for-6, and Payton Rawlins rallied the Indians to a 5-3 advantage entering the seventh inning.
Said Seneca coach Chris Yust: “It came down to them making more plays than we did at the end. I don’t believe I would do anything different.
“We had opportunities to put them away,” Yust said. “There were so many scenarios that would have put us over the top.
“We had too many little mistakes — such as baserunning — and too many walks,” Yust said.
“We had a great year. It’s been a fun group of players to coach. They worked hard. I’d take this group any day.”
The Tigers, coached by David Liebnitz, secured one-out walks from Brett Marr and Nico Codemo to start their comeback in the seventh. Yust removed senior left-hander Colton Webber for the right-handed Merriman — a consistent recipe for success for Seneca — after the second pass.
Merriman. a junior, plunked Jared Allnutt to load the bases, however, and walked Matt Mayden to force in a run. Kye Denker then lofted the tying sacrifice fly to center before a strikeout for the third out.
Each team squandered a major scoring opportunity in the ensuing innings before the Tigers struck in the 10th.
An infield single by Chase Leavy (who was hit by pitches three times), a single by Matt Zembraski and an intentional pass to Marr, the Tigers’ season leading hitter, loaded the bases.
Codemo snapped the tie with a sacrifice fly and Allnutt and Denker added run-scoring singles.
Seneca, which stranded 12 runners, outhit the Tigers 13-9. Warrensburg left 15 runners.
Merriman, who smoked a double to center to score the singling Brayden Larson in the third inning, lined a homer to left in the fourth to score Cole Lankford.
Rawlins pulled his homer to left — some 315 feet down the line — after a single by Webber in the sixth inning.
Cade Cornett and Kyler Ng each had two hits for the Indians.
Marr, a senior right-hander, worked four scoreless innings to claim the pitching decision.
Batterymate Codemo rapped a solo homer and Jacob Terry added a two-run single to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead before the long balls keyed a dramatic Seneca rally that came so close.