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Three days after winning the first game of its regional tournament, Vandalia exited the tourney in the semifinal round against Teutopolis.
Teutopolis, the No. 1 seed in the region, showed its depth and talent in the 13-0 win.
“They [Teutopolis] know how to play game,” Coach Luke Hohlt said, “We just have to come out and be ready from the get go, and a few at-bats here and there may have changed the outcome of this game. We had some chances there, could have made the pitcher work a little harder, but that’s a learning experience.”
The Wooden Shoes got off to a hot start, scoring four runs in the top of the first, putting the Vandals in the hole early.
Vandalia’s defense was able to keep T-Town off the board in the second, but surrendered five more runs in the third and four more in the fourth.
Andy Hosick was brought in to pitch with two out in the bottom of the fourth with two on. Hosick struck out the batter to stop the bleeding.
Facing a 13-0 deficit in the top of the fifth and the prospect of a 10-run rule, the Vandals season was on the line.
They were unable to deliver. Vandalia went three-up, three-down in the inning.
The Vandals end the season 5-18.
Vandalia pitching got knocked around quite a bit as no pitcher lasted more than 2 2/3 innings. Hosick recorded the pitching staffs only strike out. He pitched just 1/3 of an inning.
“I feel really good, I know 5-18 isn’t the greatest high school baseball record, but when you’re playing a lot of underclassmen, that shows that we’re going to have success in the future,” Hohlt said. “We’re going to keep working hard and hopefully we’ll get better.”
Thursday, Hosick, the team's only senior, played his final game of his high school career.
“Coming out here, it’s not the way we wanted to lose but T-town is a good baseball team, they always have been,” Hosick said.
Looking back a few months, to when the season first started, Hohlt said the team that took the field one Thursday isn’t the same on that took it for the first time back in March.
“[The team is] much different, much different,” he said. “We had a horrible April; it was really bad. But I just told the guys the last three or four weeks we’ve really come to practice ready to practice. When we step in the ballpark we have our heads up like we can play ball a little bit. That’s what you have to do.”
A game and a loss like this can really only serve one purpose for the Vandals, as a learning experience. Already looking ahead to next season, Vandalia will have all but one player back, Hosick. With so many players coming back, there will be a plethora of experience in both the regular season and now postseason.
“These are games that our freshmen and sophomores are going to look back on when they’re seniors and say, ‘Yeah we played them and now our program is turned around and we’re that team’ and that could potentially be us,” Hohlt said.