CRESTVIEW — A season of comebacks for the Crestview High School baseball team came up one comeback short Tuesday night in the Class 6A region semifinals.
The clock struck midnight on the magical season for the Bulldogs when Dakota Dean grounded out to second base in the bottom of the seventh inning for the final out in a 3-0 loss to Mosley.
“It just wasn’t our night,” Bulldog coach Tim Gillis said. “We barreled some balls up and hit it right at them and they made some plays. We had some opportunities and left some runners out there.
“You have to give them credit. They made the plays when they had to. I proud of our guys, they battled and they fought, but just hit it right at them.”
The Dolphins scored three runs on 11 hits. And although the Bulldogs hit the ball well, they managed just four hits against Mosley’s pitching tandem of Andrew Deramo and Austin Bizzle.
Roman Donofro went the distance on the mound for the Bulldogs striking out four walking two batters.
Crestview (22-6) threatened early in the game, but was unable to cash in against Deramo.
Dean led off the game with a deep fly to left field. Tyler Henderson followed and sent Dolphin left fielder Brady Bell all the way to the wall before Bell made the catch for the second out of the inning.
Freshman Corey Armstrong picked up the first Bulldog hit of the game when he ripped a drive into the right-center field gap for a two-out double. But Armstrong was stranded at second when Seth Thomason struck out for the third out of the inning.
Crestview was at it again in the second inning. Austin Armstrong led off the inning with a single and was replaced on the base paths by courtesy runner Drew Graham.
Deramo made it easy for Graham as he balked twice moving Graham to second base and then third base. Graham remained on third base as Deramo worked out of the jam.
Mosley (26-3) scored twice in the top of the third inning.
Greg Gladden led off with a single to left. Joey Hair followed with another base hit to left.
Conner Green followed Hair and dropped a bunt between the mound and third base. Donofro pounced on the ball and was ready to throw to third for the force out, nobody was covering the base. Joran Larry then ripped a double to left field scoring to runs for Mosley with what turned out to be the game winning hit.
Crestview tried to answer in the bottom of the inning as Dean reached on a one-out double and Henderson was safe on a Mosley error. In what would be the theme of the night, the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize on the situation.
The Dolphins added another run in the fifth inning. Things could have been much worse but Justin Rebholz turned a double play on a foul ball by Logan Quimyog. Rebholz ran down the foul and then threw as strike to catch Austin Armstrong to retire Bell at home for the third out of the inning.
The Bulldogs got a runner to third base in the fourth inning and the seventh inning, but were unable to score.
The fourth inning ended on a borderline called third strike on a full count to Jimmy Croussore that would have loaded the bases and sent Dean to the plate.
Tate Sweatt led off the Crestview seventh with a base hit and moved to third as Donofro grounded out to third base. A wild pitch by Bizzle moved Sweatt to third where he was when Dean grounded out to end the game.
“We came out on the good end (of the score) a lot of times this year, and a few times we didn’t” Gillis said. “Tonight was one of those times.”
In a senior class of leaders no two players were bigger leaders than Dean and Henderson who were starters from the beginning of the freshman year.
“It’s really hard,” Dean said of the loss. “Growing up with all these kids since T-ball and playing with them my whole life up to now and we have to go our separate ways.
“My best memories are winning two district championships on four years. We laid it all on the line so we can’t have any regrets.”
Henderson said the experiences he’s had with his baseball and football teammates will carry him the rest of his life.
“There have been ups where you have been so far up you didn’t feel like you could have anything bring you down,” he said. “And then you’ve been so low you just want to go and crawl in the hole. But you’ve got teammates out here that will always pick you up and they will carry you far.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.