Photo/Zac Chamblee

Sacred Heart baseball coach Tim Coats walked away unsatisfied with the Crusaders’ season-ending loss to Sebastopol on Monday. However, Coats was satisfied with the group of kids he coached this year, his first at the helm.

“At one point in the season, we lost 9 out of 10 games,” he said. “Never had a kid with any kind of attitude problems, hanging their heads or not showing up to practice. They worked just as hard when we lost 9 out of 10 as they did when we won 6 out of 7 at the end of the season.”

With no seniors on their roster, the Crusaders rode that resurgence to the 3-seed in Region 8-1A, qualifying for the Class 1A playoffs. But their postseason appearance was short-lived as they were swept by Sebastopol in the first round. After coming up short in Saturday’s Game 1 on the road, the Crusaders dropped a 4-1 decision in Monday’s Game 2 at Sacred Heart’s Athletic Complex.

“We had several opportunities to put some runs across the plate tonight,” Coats said. “We just didn’t get the timely hits when we needed.”

Three times in three separate innings the Crusaders had a pair of baserunners on with only one out. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the third time was the charm as Gavin Pierce drove in Sacred Heart’s first and only run of the game with an RBI single. But the Bobcats had plated three runs on a hit and two wild pitches to go up 4-0 in the top of the inning, so the damage done from Pierce’s hit was minimal. 

“We made a couple errors that hurt us,” Coats said. “Luke Hicks pitched a great ballgame for us. He developed a blister late, and that caused him to have a few problems. But if we make a couple plays behind him and get our timely hitting, we win the ballgame.”

Hicks went five-plus innings before handing the ball over to Ewan Robinson in the sixth. With two out in the bottom of the seventh, Robinson singled and later advanced to second base on a wild pitch to give Sacred Heart another chance at cutting into Sebastopol’s lead, but the very next Crusader batter grounded out to end the game. 

Sacred Heart finished the season 8-12. 

“I would’ve liked to win more ballgames, but we didn’t,” Coats said. “The good thing is we got everybody coming back next season, and they’re gonna be a year bigger, stronger, faster, wiser and everything, so I’m looking forward to next year.

“The future is very bright.”