Varsity Baseball

BV Southwest loses on walk-off after hidden-ball trick, wild final inning

Blue Valley Southwest loses heartbreaker in baseball quarterfinals

The Blue Valley Southwest Timberwolves held a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, but Topeka Seaman scored three runs and knocked BV Southwest out of state tournament on May 24, 2018.
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The Blue Valley Southwest Timberwolves held a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, but Topeka Seaman scored three runs and knocked BV Southwest out of state tournament on May 24, 2018.

So much had to go wrong.

Blue Valley Southwest lost a 3-2 heartbreaker in nine innings Thursday to Topeka Seaman on a walk-off. BV Southwest had a two-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning of their Class 5A state high school quarterfinal game at Eck Stadium on the Wichita State campus.

Seaman senior Kaden Henley delivered the dagger, but the game was wild far before that.

In the bottom of the seventh inning and no score, Southwest's Zachary Guertin doubled to left field, but on the ensuing at-bat, Seaman pitcher Hunter Hesseltine picked him off — kind of.

Hesseltine twisted around to second and faked to the bag but held on to the ball. Henley, the shortstop, dived toward the bag as if the ball had gotten past him into the outfield. Guertin took a look to the outfield and acted instinctively.

He took off to third, but Hesseltine met him in the middle and tagged him out.

"That's a play we've spent about five minutes on," Seaman coach Steve Bushnell said. "It's a pretty simple play. It's just a little bit of deception."

Bushnell said Thursday was not the first time the Viking had run that play and won't be the last, but he said it is a move they rarely pull out.

"It happened to us, that's how we got it," he said. "It was the damnedest thing."

The play preserved the scoreless, set-for-seven-innings game and sent it to extra innings, but Southwest got on top in the ninth.

Junior Billy Bartlett singled up the middle and scored senior Justin Tinkler. One batter later after Bartlett stole second, senior Brent Shinkle slashed a double to right field that scored Bartlett.

After eight scoreless innings of defense and pitching, that lead didn't last.

The bottom of the ninth started with an error. Seaman's Jared Stuewe reached after first baseman Nick Modrcin mishandled the ball. After a walk, the Vikings' Grant Smith bunted, but Tinkler, the third baseman, couldn't catch the bunt in the air and when he gathered and threw to first, the ball sailed over Modrcin's head.

Two runs had scored, setting Henley up for the walk-off.

"We made some huge plays when we had to," Bushnell said. "Obviously we had to go into the bag of tricks to pull one out of the fire. We knew one run was probably going to decide this game."

Southwest's season ends at 16-7. Seaman (19-4) will play No. 1 seed Shawnee Heights at 11 a.m. Friday.

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