SPARTA — In baseball, a season can end in a moment’s notice.
The Highland Scots learned that on Wednesday when, down by two with two runners in the seventh, two batters struck out to end their game — and their season.
As a result, the Whitehall-Yearling Rams earned a 5-3 victory in their Division II sectional semifinal game.
The Scots did on Wednesday, for the most part, what they had done all season — relying on solid pitching and good defense to carry the team when the offense falters.
Highland couldn’t quite solve the pitching of Whitehall’s Jared DeSanto. The senior is the team’s ace on the mound, and it showed. Although his fastball lacks velocity, he had tremendous control of his breaking pitches, fooling Highland batters by hitting the corners of the strike zone. DeSanto ended up with a complete game victory, striking out nine batters.
The Scots, who had a bevy of pitchers to choose from, put Dalton Stambaugh on the mound. He allowed five hits while striking out two in four innings. His control was also good but, by allowing runs in the second and third innings, Stambaugh took the loss.
Garrett Weikel drove in all three runs for Highland on two singles. Jett Swetland had a single and a double as well as a run scored, and Drew Huff added two singles. Alec Harris and Cade Randolph also singled.
But what summed up the game for the Scots were the defensive mistakes.
Whitehall-Yearling (7-18) got on the board first when Nick Wright singled to right field. The right fielder had a shot at throwing him out, but the ball sailed over the first baseman’s head, and Wright ended up at second. Later, after Cody Koons reached base on an error on a pop fly, Wright scored on a Cameron Dickenson fielder’s choice.