BASEBALL: Southwood tops Caston 5-3 at sectional

May 25—MONON — Caston erased an early three-run deficit but couldn't get over the hump in a 5-3 loss to Southwood in sectional play Saturday.

The defending sectional champion Knights (8-18) scored three unearned runs in the top of the first inning to start the game. An error, a fielder's choice and a single loaded the bases with no outs. A sac fly made it 1-0. Coan Holloway followed with a two-out, two-RBI triple to make it 3-0.

The Comets (13-11) clawed back to tie the game. Caleb Stinson hit a two-out RBI single that scored Gavin Mollenkopf to make it 3-1 in the fourth.

Edison Byrum tripled with one out in the fifth. Talon Zeider brought him home with a single to center. Lance Hanna followed with an RBI double to right to tie the game but was thrown out at third on the play. Mollenkopf later singled in the inning.

The Comets had a rally going in the sixth. Noah Herd drew a walk but the pinch runner was picked off at first. Stinson and Eli Holloway drew walks to put two runners on. Grant Yadon grounded to third and the second out was recorded at second. A strikeout ended the inning.

Zeider pitched the first six innings and was removed after 97 pitches. He allowed three unearned runs on three hits and three walks, striking out five. Hanna entered to pitch the seventh.

An error started the seventh. A sac bunt moved the runner to second. Jaret Denney followed with an RBI triple to right. Micah Smith had an RBI double to center to make it 5-3 before Hanna got a fly out and strikeout to get out of the inning.

The Comets had a ground out and strikeout to start the bottom of the seventh. Mollenkopf drew a two-out walk before a strikeout ended the game.

The Comets got hot at the end of the season and won the HNAC title outright. It was their first conference title in baseball since the 1970s. They had an 11-1 win over sectional host North White on Wednesday but they made a few mistakes on defense and on the base paths that hurt them against Southwood.

Caston graduated 11 seniors, including six starters.

Southwood advanced to face North Miami on Monday for the sectional championship.