FESTUS, Mo. – Arcadia Valley players were poised to celebrate a hard-fought Class 3, District 3 semifinal victory when a pop fly carried toward right field on Tuesday.
In a matter of seconds, however, elation turned into sorrow. An anticipated title showdown with West County evaporated, and the season was suddenly over.
St. Pius scored the tying and winning runs when the baseball was misplayed for a stunning error, and prevailed 4-3 after being down to its final strike in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Ryan Almany and Dustin Burch collected two hits each for the Lancers (18-2), who escaped with their 15th consecutive win. The district final is scheduled for Wednesday at Jefferson High School.
Taylon Jones suffered defeat despite throwing an impressive complete game on 85 pitches for the Tigers. He allowed seven hits and struck out two over the course of two days.
Arcadia Valley (12-11) threatened to break a 2-2 tie on Monday evening when Isaiah Gibbs was hit by pitch and Tatum Jones singled in the third.
But the sprinkler system in right field was suddenly activated, causing an initial delay. Lightning and severe weather arrived minutes later to suspend action for the night.
Luke Savage doubled home Gibbs for a 3-2 edge once the game resumed Tuesday, but the AV lineup was soon silenced as Tyler Hedtkamp twirled five scoreless innings and fanned six in relief.
Taylon Jones managed to match him on the mound right until the cruel conclusion. Tatum Jones went 2-for-3 with a walk, and Stephen Pursley doubled for the Tigers.
Arcadia Valley grabbed a 2-0 lead against starter Jeremy Isenman after an error enabled Peyton Whited to reach safely on the game’s first pitch.
Gibbs doubled down the left field line with out, and eventually scored on a ground out by Eli Vandergriff after Tatum Jones drove an RBI single to left field.
St. Pius answered with two runs in the second. Almany doubled ahead of an RBI triple by Isenman, who then crossed the plate on a sharp single from Kaleb Schweigert.