Canton Comeback Leaves Lincoln Stunned

by Nathan Gerdts | Posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
Mason Sanders drives a pitch to left as part of his two hits to lead Lincoln

Mason Sanders drives a pitch to left as part of his two hits to lead Lincoln

Nobody likes to go back to work after Memorial Day Weekend. Count the Lincoln Cardinals amongst the masses.

The Cardinals blew a late three-run lead and fell to the Canton Tigers 5-4 in a MSHSAA Class 2 baseball semifinal on the evening of May 31 at CarShield Field in O’Fallon MO.

Lincoln grabbed the advantage in the top of the second. Corbin Reese singled to lead off the inning and scored on throwing error by the third baseman, and after Sam Hinrichs reached on a fielder’s choice, Grant Eifert roped a triple to left center field to bring Hinrichs in for a 2-0 lead.

Canton would respond in the bottom of the fourth. Josh Kermoade scorched a 2-1 pitch up the middle for a leadoff single and moved to third on a double from Drake Serbin. LaVion Wilson drove Kermoade in with a base hit up the middle to pull the Tigers to within a run.

Lincoln seemingly created some space in the top of the fifth. Dominic Simmons was hit by a pitch and Mason Sanders singled to begin the inning. Connor Spunagle laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runner up, and an error at first base after a grounder by Reese allowed both runs to score and extend the lead to 4-1.

Connor Spunagle and Jeff Hinrichs work together on the infield to get an out for Lincoln

Connor Spunagle and Jeff Hinrichs work together on the infield to get an out for Lincoln

But Canton would rally in a dramatic bottom of the sixth. Kermoade coaxed a leadoff walk, then Serbin singled and Wilson reached on a throwing error by the shortstop. Lincoln starter Corbin Mertgen was pulled for Spunagle with the bases loaded and nobody out.

Pinch hitter Mason Wright drew a walk to force in Kermoade. Trey Metz also coaxed a walk to bring Serbin home and pull Canton down only a run. Logan Brown laid down a bunt that Spunagle fielded and threw home to get Wilson on the forceout.

With Koy Smith digging in, Wright scored on a passed ball during the at-bat that tied the game, and Smith hit a deep fly ball to center that worked as a sacrifice to score Metz and take the lead.

Lance Logsdon took to the hill in the top of the seventh and worked around a two-out walk by Spunagle to shut Lincoln down and seal the victory. Logsdon improved to 11-0 this season and allowed three earned runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out six in the complete-game win.

Spunagle was the losing pitcher, walking two and punching out one in his one inning of relief. Mertgen went five innings as the starter and allowed four earned runs on nine hits and four walks along with five K’s.

Serbin led the way for the Tigers with two hits. Kermoade scored twice. Canton totaled nine hits and left eight runners on base en route to improving to 21-0 on the year and moving to the Class 2 state championship game versus Valle Catholic.

Sanders and Eifert each recorded two hits to lead the way for the Cardinals. Lincoln recorded eight hits and stranded seven while finishing the 2016 season with a mark of 26-3.

The Cardinals tied for third with Plato due to the third-place game being cancelled and complete the best season in school history with a record win total and the first MSHSAA Baseball Championships appearance in school history.

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