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May 19, 2014

Latta not sharp against Silo

Shawnee —    It’s hard to overcome mistakes at the state tournament. It’s even harder when you’re squaring off against the No. 1 team in your class.

   The Latta Panthers made too many early miscues and couldn’t capitalize on potential run-scoring situations in a 12-3 loss to Silo in the first round of the Class 2A State Tournament Thursday at Shawnee’s Ed Skelton Field.

    It all started in the top of the first inning. After Andrew Bolin led off with a double for Silo, Lance House drew a one-out walk.

   Latta starting pitcher Austin Simpson fired to first base and caught House in no-man’s land. But House got out of the pickle and safely slid into second with a stolen base.

   A Latta error followed, allowing both runners to score. Trenton Long later added a two-out, two-run double for Silo to put the Rebels up 4-0 after an inning in which they probably should have been scoreless.

   “The thing about it is, I knew exactly what they were going to do. They were going to run on first movement, and they did,” veteran Latta head coach Ed Collins said of the missed opportunity. “We got the perfect setup for us to do something, and we were just a little bit too casual to second base. That’s out No. 2.

    “Then you have the defense back and get a ball that tipped off our glove and went up the middle. We’re back, and I think we’re going to get out of the inning with no runs, and then maybe we get established a little bit on the mound,” he said.

   The Panthers loaded the bases on a single by Brady Johnson and walks to Ty Hoppe and Tristan Monroe in the bottom of the second, but they didn’t score. A double by Simpson and a walk to Johnson in the bottom of the third also didn’t produce a run.

   “When we didn’t score with the bases loaded ... it could have very easily been 2-0 or 2-2,” Collins said. “We just broke down fundamentally after that. We didn’t throw to the correct base, we didn’t line people up ....but that happens sometimes up here.”

   Silo got a solo home run by Bolin and an RBI triple by House in a three-run fourth inning that pushed the Rebel lead to 7-0.

   Long drove in another run with an RBI double in the top of the fifth that made it 8-0.

   “Silo is an awfully talented team.  Against a team like that, you’ve got to score some runs, and that didn’t happen,” Collins said.

   Latta finally broke the ice in the bottom of the sixth, when Simpson walked and later scored on a fielder’s choice by pinch-hitter Cain Brinlee. Latta loaded the bases with walks to Johnson and Hoppe, but a double play ended that potential uprising.

   Silo tacked on four more runs in the seventh, thanks to two-RBI singles by Tanner Clark and Leonard Sandler.

   Monroe led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run he belted over the right-field fence. Latta scored its final run after Nick Wilson doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Parker Henderson.

   Collins said he saw great improvement throughout the season from the Panthers, who capped the year with a regional championship and another trip to state.

   “We still had a great year. Our kids came a long way. We have a lot to be proud of,” he said. “Toward the end of the year, we were really getting better. We played really well in the regional tournament. The pitching we saw in the regional was as good as we saw today. Up here, everything is so final. You have to go get after it, and we just didn’t do it today.”

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