MADISON — After six and a half tightly contested innings in the Madison Shawe sectional semifinal, Hauser’s season came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when Rising Sun scored the winning run on a pitch that got away in the bottom of the seventh to earn a 2-1 victory.
After each team scored a run in the third, Hauser seemed to be the team with better opportunities. The Jets had at least one man on base in every inning, and Hauser pitcher Rory Thayer had Shiner batters constantly off balance.
Hauser was unable to come through with runners on base, though, and finished seven innings with just the one run. But with Rising Sun’s bottom third of the order due up in the bottom of the seventh and Thayer in control, it appeared the game was destined for extra innings.
The Shiners’ pitcher, Mitch Morris, was tiring, and it seemed like only a matter of time before the Jets would score.
But Hauser never got another opportunity. Rising Sun second baseman Brent Turner led off the seventh with a single. Morris, trying to sacrifice, laid down a perfect bunt and reached first.
The next batter, Bryant Housemeyer, also trying to sacrifice, found himself on first after another outstanding bunt, giving the Shiners the bases loaded and no outs, needing just one run to win.
Rising Sun would not need another hit, as a Thayer pitch to Shiners’ leadoff man Jake Uhlmansiek reached the back stop after nicking the mitt of Jets’ catcher Dalton McKinney, allowing Turner to score the winning run for Rising Sun.
“Both bunts were great,” Thayer said. “Hats off to them for putting down two great bunts. The last pitch just got away, and there’s the ballgame.”
“It’s part of the game,” Hauser coach Jerry Shoen said. “It wasn’t our day. (our players) did everything I asked of them. You can’t fault anyone.
“We were prepared to play. We came ready. We were focused. Everything I could ask for was there. We just didn’t execute early in the game.”
Junior Will Rose registered the lone Hauser RBI when he drove home senior Brooks Bailey on a single, after Bailey had singled to lead off the inning and stolen second. Hauser had runners in scoring position in every inning after that, but couldn’t get anyone past third.
“Their pitcher executed just like you’re supposed to,” Shoen said. “We just didn’t put the ball right where we needed it. They made a couple plays with two outs. It’s sad to come down to that play, but we had opportunities to score early on.”
Thayer, who retired the first eight batters of the game before allowing the first Shiner baserunner with two outs in the third, gave up eight hits in the game and struck out four.
“Rory Thayer threw the game of his life,” Shoen said. “He was prepared. He knew what needed to be done. I was really proud of his effort out there and his mental state.”
Hauser finished its season with a 17-10 record.
“It was definitely a good season,” Thayer said. “We didn’t know where we would be, but we competed day in and day out and worked hard. It’s hard to see it end like this, but it is what it is. They’re a good team.
“For the seniors, it’s a tough one,” he said. “The younger guys get another chance, another opportunity next year, but for us four seniors, it’s always tough playing your last game.”