STILLMAN VALLEY – The umpire remarked to Genoa-Kingston starting pitcher Adam Price that he wasn’t catching any breaks during Monday’s Class 1A Stillman Valley Regional quarterfinal against the host Cardinals.
Price was quick with a response.
“I was like, ‘That’s how our season’s gone. Our whole year.’ It’s rough,” Price said.
That continued Monday, in G-K’s 10-0, five-inning loss to the Cardinals, ending the sixth-seeded Cogs’ season at 6-21.
Price held the Cardinals (20-13-1) scoreless through the first two innings, but Stillman Valley scored five in the third to blow open the game. The Cardinals had four straight singles, including a Todd Whitlow single that managed to bounce over shortstop Jake Langford’s head.
From there, the Cogs fell apart. A wild pitch scored Stillman Valley third baseman Devin Standard, G-K failed to cover first on a bunt and an error allowed Kyle Lawson to reach. He later scored.
“Obviously the bad bounce on Jake at short, that’s obviously a microcosm of our season,” G-K coach Josh Latimer said. “We haven’t had anything bounce our way all year, and it continued today, which is pretty upsetting.”
Stillman Valley added four more runs in the fourth – three came on a bases-loaded triple by Lawson. Jeff Cialkowski’s walk-off single in the fifth scored Spencer Lentz.
The Cogs notched only one hit off Stillman Valley starter Jake McKnight, who struck out 10. Price struck out three and allowed 12 hits, but Latimer was happy with how Price pitched.
“I thought the umping was very, very skeptical,” said Latimer, who was restricted to the dugout after arguing with the umpire. “I was very, very disappointed in that. I definitely didn’t think things were consistent, but in the game of baseball you’re going to get that.”
G-K loses seven seniors but will return plenty of experience, led by Price. Latimer said Price has the ability to be G-K’s top starter next season, and Price hopes the Cogs can avoid the mistakes of this season.
“The kids coming back get a good taste of playing against a really good team like Stillman,” Price said. “Hopefully by next year we’ll be doing things that help us improve and make us better for next year.”
For a team that hoped to build on a regional title game appearance last year and slipped to a No. 6 seed, Latimer hopes this third season at the helm at G-K looks more like his first than this one.
“I think expectations got set real early,” Latimer said. “A lot of people tell me three years. When you’ve been in a program three years, things become your own. Hopefully that’s what we’re looking for. I think we’re going to get that next year with a lot of returning guys and a lot of younger guys.”