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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Late rally ends Oran's attempt at another final four

Sunday, May 27, 2007

(Photo)
Oran's Caleb Seyer looks on in dismat as Ste. Genevieve Valle's Casey Koller celebrates.
ORAN -- The Oran Eagles saw a 4-0 fourth-inning lead evaporate in a Class 1 quarterfinal loss to the Valle Catholic Warriors on Friday.

Valle (27-2) earned its first-ever visit to the state baseball playoffs with a 5-4 comeback win over perennial playoff contender Oran, which finished its season at 24-5.

"They're a good ballclub, a good hitting team and we lost to a better team today," said Oran coach Mitch Wood.

It didn't look that way early on as the Eagles drew first blood on Caleb Seyer's two-run homer to straightaway centerfield at the 351-foot mark. Starting pitcher Steven Dooley, who had reached on an infield single, scored ahead of Seyer.

Oran tacked on a single run in the fourth but blew a chance to possibly break the game open when they stranded the bases loaded with only one out.

(Photo)
Oran first baseman Chase Seyer and Valle's Colby Schilly look for a call.
Alex Chasteen lined a one-out single to center, then following a 15-minute rain delay, Chris Asmus drew a walk. Dooley's infield single filled the bases prior to a strikeout ahead of a base on balls to Cody Dirnberger which plated Chasteen for a 3-0 lead.

Valle starter and winner Nathan Grass struck out Caleb Seyer to end the threat.

"The biggest out of the game for us was when they had the bases loaded with a 2-0 lead and Seyer up," said Valle coach Judd Naeger. "I was thinking this could be the ballgame and, if we could somehow get an out here, we'd have a shot."

Oran, designated the visiting team, padded its lead with a run in the top of the fifth to go up 4-0.

Kody Campbell walked, stole second and galloped home on Tyler Beardslee's double to the left-centerfield gap.

(Photo)
Oran's Caleb Seyer heads for home.
Meanwhile Dooley, the all-state junior transfer from Chaffee High School, was cruising with a three-hit shutout through four innings.

But that changed on one swing of the bat of Valle freshman Nathan Geile in the fifth inning. Geile pounded a two-run blast deep over the left-centerfield wall.

"I was waiting for it to happen," Naeger said. "He's been in a little bit of a funk lately, but when he hits we're going to win most of the time because he hits it with force."

Cole Bieser's infield single opened the fifth. He advanced to second on a groundout, then was balked to third ahead of Colby Schilly's RBI single as Valle broke into the scoring column.

Geile's two-out homer narrowed the score to 4-3 and appeared to switch momentum firmly to the Valle side.

"That's what homeruns do," said Wood. "They're big momentum pushers."

After a quick 1-2-3 Oran at-bat in the sixth, the Warriors went back on the offensive.

Aaron Basler's double chased Dooley to start the Valle sixth.

Against reliever Chase Seyer, who had pitched the complete-game win over Cooter in the sectional on Wednesday, Aaron Basler was sacrificed to third and trotted home with the game-tying run on Casey Koller's basehit.

A single by Bieser put runners on first and second. Kyle Basler followed with a single to right field to bring in Koller with the eventual winning run.

On the pitching switch to Seyer, Wood said, "I think Dooley was doing fine, but once you have a momentum change, you've got to try to stop that momentum. Once we got to that fifth and sixth innings, we wanted to go with Chase who's been doing it for us all year long."

The Eagles went down in order in the seventh on three flyouts, the final out on a diving shoestring catch by Warrior centerfielder Schilly.

Seyer, charged with one run on three hits, took the loss while Grass, who went the distance allowing six hits with 10 strikeouts, earned the victory.

Dooley led the Oran offense with two hits in three at-bats. Caleb Seyer, Campbell, Beardslee and Chasteen collected one hit apiece.

Both teams turned in flawless defensive efforts.

Valle's Naeger felt his team's will was the key to victory.

"Our heart comes to mind first," he said. "A lot of teams, down 4-0, would have phoned it in. We thought that if we came down here, pitched well and made no errors, we would have a shot at least."

Oran, the Class 1 runner-up in 2006, concluded yet another successful campaign with a sixth trip in seven seasons to no less than the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs.