MOLINE – Every ball that Metamora hit seemed to find the exact right spot.
Sycamore's offense, which scored 21 runs in its first four playoff games, was held to only one hit. Spartans pitcher Colan Treml, who had been nearly unhittable throughout the postseason, looked human.
Nothing seemed to go right for Sycamore in a 10-0, six-inning loss to Metamora in the Class 3A Augustana College Super-Sectional.
"They didn't even hit a ball close to anybody the whole time," Sycamore coach Jason Cavanaugh said. "And Colan's location wasn't very good today. A lot of pitches down the middle, curveball's staying up. Once they got a little confidence, they started swinging the bat like they owned the place."
Treml – who started the postseason 3-0 and had not allowed a run in 18 innings coming in, which included a no-hitter against Kaneland in the Rochelle Sectional semifinal – struggled to throw his usually effective breaking balls for strikes.
Treml held Metamora (26-12) at bay for the first two innings, but the Redbirds broke through with four in the third and another two in the fourth. Metamora added another four runs in the sixth off reliever Cam Godinsky to earn the walk-off win via the 10-run rule. Treml gave up four earned runs in four-plus innings.
Sycamore catcher Nate Haacker hit a two-out double in the first, but that was the lone hit the Spartans (26-13) got against Metamora starting pitcher Geremy Guerrero, who struck out nine Sycamore batters. The Spartans had seven flyball outs, and only two via the ground ball.
"We've always been preaching (to) hit the ball on the ground," Sycamore senior first baseman Cooper Vinz said. "Strikeouts and pop-ups aren't going to help you win. That's our fault."
It also was a rare chance for Sycamore to face a left-handed pitcher. Besides the Haacker double, the only other time the Spartans put a runner in scoring position came in the top of the fourth, when Sycamore had runners on first and second with two outs after Vinz walked and Brett Weaver was hit by a pitch. But Alec Kozak popped out to first base to end the inning.
"We hadn't seen a lefty in a while. I think we just weren't used to it," Sycamore senior third baseman Mark Skelley said. "He had a decent curveball, we just got under it too much."
The Spartans had hoped to be the team celebrating a state tournament berth at the end of the game, but the 2014 season saw Sycamore make its furthest postseason run in school history.
Sycamore's senior class won regional titles the past two seasons, and capped off their careers with a sectional championship this year.
"They left their mark on Sycamore High School sports," Cavanaugh said. "And I enjoyed working with all of them."