A second-inning single followed by a clutch double put the Hugoton Eagles up 1-0 through two innings of Thursday’s Class 3A state quarterfinal vs. Minneapolis.
But things unraveled from there as the Eagles were downed 14-1 in four innings, ending their historic season at 14-9.
“Things started out all right,” head coach Tanner Rindels said. “We started the first inning, we got a guy on — don’t get anything out of it, though. We turn around on defense and they go three up, three down. Then, top of second inning, seven-hole gets a hit, eight-hole hits a double and scores the run.
“Bottom of the second, we get out of it without giving up any runs, and so after two we’re up 1-0. But in the third, untimely walks and an untimely error, and things just kind of snowballed.”
Minneapolis (20-3) scored seven runs in the third and seven in the fourth, pulling away for the run-rule shortened win.
“By the end of the game, we gave up 14 runs on five or six hits,” Rindels said. “It was just a bunch of walks and errors, and little things.”
More than anything, Rindels said, it was Minneapolis playing disciplined baseball.
“They’re a good team,” Rindels said. “They looked solid swinging the bat when they did. We weren’t wild by any means, but they were very patient hitting. They forced pitchers to make pitches and the defense to make plays.”
Minneapolis advances to Friday’s semifinal round, and will face Sabetha (19-3) immediately following the first semifinal of the day.
Hugoton’s state run — believed to be the first in program history — came to an end Thursday.
“They have absolutely nothing to hang their heads about,” Rindels said. “Sometimes games don’t go your way, but overall this season, they did so much better than what everybody expected. And they don’t know what they did for this program. More people are going to come out for the sport and more people are going to want to be involved and are going to be excited about what we’re doing because of the success they had.
“The momentum is going to carry over even to next year.”