Vienna’s late-inning rally comes up short

Drawing a first-round bye as the second seed for the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 2, District 9 Baseball Tournament in Eugene, Vienna’s Eagles awaited the winner of the host Eagles and Crocker’s Lions.

After Eugene defeated Crocker 13-2 in first-round action Friday night, it set up an all Eagle district semifinal Monday night between Eugene and Vienna.

Trailing 1-0 throughout the first three innings, Vienna tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the bottom of the fourth before plating three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 4-2 lead.

Three outs from a spot in the district title game, Vienna saw Eugene score five runs in the top of the seventh inning forcing Vienna to bat in the bottom half of the seventh.

Only able to plate two runs, Vienna saw their season end at 18-8 following a 7-6 loss to Eugene.

Playing as the visiting team on their home field due to being the lower seed, third-seeded Eugene took advantage of the chance to bat first.

Turning two Vienna errors into a run, Eugene took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the first inning.

Neither team would score again until the bottom of the fourth inning.

Gavin Stricklan started the frame with a leadoff single before stealing second base. Taking third on a wild pitch, Stricklan scored the tying run on a Levi Messersmith RBI single knotting the game at 1-1 through four innings.

After a scoreless fifth inning, both teams added to their run totals in the sixth inning.

Seeing their leadoff hitter reach on a dropped third strike, Eugene additionally used a Vienna error and a hit to break the tie and take a 2-1 lead into the bottom half of the sixth.

Allowing a run on an error, Vienna was able to in turn take advantage of a pair of Eugene miscues in the bottom of the sixth.

McCrae Fuller drew a one-out walk before Stricklan reached on a Eugene error allowing Fuller to take third base.

A Trenton Rowden RBI single scoring Fuller tied the game at 2-2.

Adding to his single in the fourth inning, Messersmith delivered an RBI single scoring Stricklan giving the Eagles a 3-2 lead.

Rowden would later score on a Eugene error pushing the Vienna lead to 4-2 heading to a do-or-die top of the seventh inning for Eugene.

Taking full advantage of six walks and two doubles, Eugene plated five runs turning the tables on Vienna leading 7-4 moving to the bottom of the seventh inning.

Now down to their last three outs, Vienna looked to either force extra innings or knock off Eugene on their home field with a seventh-inning rally.

Following a strikeout to start the inning, Dylan Buschmann doubled and scored on a Eugene error pulling Vienna within two at 7-5.

Logan Agan then followed with a one-out single before a Eugene error moved him to second base.

Taking third on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Stricklan, Agan scored on a Rowden RBI single cutting Eugene’s lead to 7-6 with the tying and go-ahead runs both on base.

Looking to add to his two singles, Messersmith struck out to end Vienna’s season in the district semifinals.

Rallying on their home field, Eugene advanced to the district championship game last night (Tuesday) against the top-seeded Russellville Indians.