Mistakes denied Gretna its chance for its first Class A State Tournament win in program history.
The third-seeded Dragons fell 5-3 to sixth-seeded Archbishop Bergan in the first round of the state tournament Saturday at Sherman Field.
“I think we gave them some extra outs,” Gretna coach Jake Wolf said. “We didn’t make some plays defensively that prolonged some of their innings and they made us pay.
“Ultimately, I thought that was the difference.”
Blake Grimm reached base twice on single and hit by pitch while scoring one run. Caden Opfer tallied an RBI single and Grant Hubka added a run scored. Starting pitcher Quinn Mason pitched two innings before leaving the game with arm soreness.
The senior allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits while striking out five, but walked four batters that upped his pitch count to 58.
“He just said his arm wasn’t feeling very good. I know in the middle of the season, he battled a little fatigue or soreness,” Wolf said. “He missed a few starts, but he pitched really well in our district final.
“Obviously, we didn’t want to risk any type of injury there.”
The Dragons didn’t do much to help their cause on offense, either. In the seven innings, Gretna’s leadoff batter reached five time and five times a runner reached third base before the end of the inning.
“Early, I think, the first three innings we had a runner at third base and we had guys we wanted up at the plate. Tip your cap to their pitcher (Brody) Sintek, Wold said. “He’s their No. 1 for a reason and he was better than us in some of those spots.,”
Bergan’s Sintek pitched six innings allowing three runs on six hits while striking out six and walking two for Bergan.
“I wouldn’t call him overpowering, but he throws it in there pretty good,” Wolf said. “I don’t think we made enough adjustments to get caught up with the fastball and kind of got ourselves in some bad counts.”
Gretna squeezed out of trouble in the first inning. An error put a Knight runner on with one out before a single and a walk loaded the bases. The Knights plated a run on a RBI groundout to lead 1-0 before Mason struck out the final batter.
The Dragons lead-off hitter reached base in the bottom of the first and second inning, but couldn’t plate a run in either.
In the top of the third, Mason walked back-to-back batters with one out and then allowed a single up the middle for Fremont Bergan to take a 2-0 lead.
After the single, Mason was relieved for Zach Devine, who made quick work of the Knights. A double play started by shortstop Grimm and then Hubka made a nice play at third to get out of the inning.
“That was a tough spot for Zach with the injury (to Mason) and coming in the middle of that stuff, but he did a great job,” Wolf said. “Great turn by Blake and Bryce up the middle, like they’ve been doing all year. Getting out of that inning gave us some momentum and kept our energy fairly positive.”
In the top of the fifth, the Knights put runners on second and third with one out. With the infield in, Grimm made a solid play, but Coby Hardies couldn’t come up with the ball in the dirt at first base to load the bases.
An error in right field by Joe Weis on the next batter plated a run for Bergaon, which added a sac. A single tallied another run for Archbishop for a 5-0 lead before Hubka made a diving catch on a line drive for the third out..
In the fifth with a runner on and two outs, Grimm hit a grounder to the shortstop, who made an error on the throw for Devine to score from second to cut the lead to 5-1.
After Blake Grimm walked, Caden Opfer came through with a RBI single for Gretna to cut the lead to 5-2 with runners on second and third. Mason grounded out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hardies walked with one out and Evan Beran singled leading to an error to plate a run and put Beran at second. A groundout and strike out got Bergan out the inning with a 5-3 score.
After getting out of a jam in the top of the seventh, Bryce Grimm advanced to second base with one out, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the game.
“We didn’t tell them anything they didn’t know, as far as missed opportunities. We left some outs out there,” Wolf said. “Told them to get over it and have a short memory. We obviously don’t want to be 0-1, but it’s pretty simple.”
• Gretna was eliminated from the Class A state tournament May 14 to see its season come to a close.
Creighton Prep bettered the Dragons 5-3 in the elimination game to see Gretna's season end with a 16-8 record.
After Gretna got two runners on base in the top of the first but failed to score, the Junior Jays used three hits and a walk to plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning for a 2-0 lead.
A lead-off triple by Prep in the bottom of the fourth was followed by a balk to push Prep's led to 3-0.
The Dragons posted a three-run sixth inning to knot the game at 3-all. With one out, Quinn Mason walked and Joe Weis followed with a double. Evan Beran hit a runner-scoring ground out to score Mason. Coby Hardies blasted a home run to left field to tie the game.
However, Prep responded two a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run single. Gretna failed to get anything going in the top of the seventh as Prep closed out the win.
Hardies finished with two hits to go with his homer and two RBIs for Gretna. Ben Coldiron went four innings as the Gretna starter, allowing three runs on six hits.