Maryville head baseball coach Matt Houchin wanted nothing more than to send his seven seniors out with a win in their final home game of the year Tuesday.
In position to do just that after the fifth inning, a scoreless game there for the taking unraveled on the Hounds into an 8-4 loss to Chillicothe.
All 12 runs in the game were scored from the sixth inning on after five shutout innings from both starting pitchers.
Chilicothe did the brunt of the late-inning damage, hanging a five-spot in the sixth and scoring three more in the seventh to lead 8-2.
Maryville scored a pair of runs in each of its last two at-bats, but both rallies were sabotaged by over-aggressive base-running mistakes, both of which Houchin took the blame for.
Trying to go from first to third on two-out base hits, Trent Dredge was thrown out to end the sixth inning and Jonathan Baker was gunned down to end the game in the seventh.
Maryville fell to 3-8 on the year and 1-4 in the MEC with three regular season games remaining, all on the road.
The Hounds, who have now lost three straight, finished 0-5 at home on the year.
This was one was especially hard to accept since it was Senior Day.
"These kids have put a lot of time and effort into Maryville athletics," said Houchin. "It's more than just baseball. We have football players, basketball players who over the last four years have given everything they have to Maryville. It would've been really nice to send them off the field with a win."
Maryville's troubles began in the top of the sixth when Chillicothe loaded the bases with nobody out against Hound starter Shane Owens. Two Hornets reached on singles and another on a line drive that escaped the glove of Hound third baseman Ridge Yount.
After visiting the mound earlier in the inning, Houchin returned with the bases loaded and this time summoned senior Jonathan Baker to get them out of the jam.
It was not to be.
Each of the first four Hornet batters reached against Baker and all three inherited runners scored plus two more.
The Hornets dinged Baker for three run-scoring singles—two of the bloop variety—and scored their other two runs on fielder's choice grounders.
By the end of it, the Hornets had a 5-0 lead.
"It was very frustrating to know he was making quality pitches," said Houchin. "They put it right in a little gap or right over the top of a baseman, things like that."
Page 2 of 3 - With the top of the order due up, Maryville responded by scoring its first two runs of the game off Chillicothe starter Ryan Smith.
Ridge Yount led off the inning with a walk, stole second and moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt by Baker.
Tyler Tripp drove him in with a deep sacrifice fly.
With two out and nobody on, the Hounds created and capitalized on another scoring chance.
Owens singled to left and a balk moved pinch-runner Tim Booth up to second.
Dredge smacked a single past the third baseman that scored Booth and made it 5-2.
After another single by Jarret Cronin, Dredge tried to take third and was thrown out to end the inning.
The Hornets went right back to work in the seventh.
Three of the first four hitters singled and the third one by Dylan Clark made it 6-2.
That brought an end to Baker's outing after 1 1/3 innings.
With Lane Hermelink on the mound, Chillicothe's lead-off man Steven Cooper struck a two-out, two-run single to give the Hornets an 8-2 cushion.
A sliding catch by leftfielder Mitchell Worthington ended the inning and prevented two more runs from scoring.
Smith struck out two of the first three hitters in the bottom of the seventh, but had trouble finishing the Hounds off.
Dalton Pistole walked with outs to put two runners aboard.
Baker followed with an RBI single. Another one by Tripp made it 8-4, but the threat was shut down when Clark threw a laser from right field to get Baker at third.
"It was my fault," said Houchin. "I was trying to be aggressive and it didn't work out."
All four of Maryville's runs were scored after the deficit was at least four runs.
The Hounds did little against Smith through the first five.
Their best scoring chance came in the fourth when Tripp led off with a double, but he was stranded at third with two outs. Smith struck out the side in the fifth.
Owens took his shutout into the sixth by escaping a bases loaded jam in a fifth inning that included three Hornet singles. There was no escape once the Hornets loaded the bases again in the sixth.
"I don't know how to get them to win," said Houchin. "I can't get them in the right positions. I'm going to work harder in the next few days to get them ready for districts. It's all my fault, every bit of it."
Weather-pending, Maryville's next game is Thursday at Smithville.
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