Baseball Warriors fall short, settle for second place

by CJ Layton

SPRINGFIELD -- It was another one of those innings.

Valle pitcher Alex Rollhaus was struggling a bit, the Warrior defense was struggling a bit, and the Warrior bats were struggling a lot. And, still, the bottom of the sixth inning in the Class 2 state championship baseball game was shaping up to be another classic Valle comeback.

Trailing 4-1, five Valle hitters reached base. Tyler Litterest got an RBI single, and Evan Lauer was hit by a pitch, and the Warriors trailed by just one, with Linc Stoll at the plate.

Stoll hit a bullet down the first base line, destined for extra bases and a Valle lead...when...

South Calloway first baseman Jason Kimminau stretched out and plucked the baseball out of the air, ending the Warrior threat, and ultimately, the game.

"You know, I really, REALLY thought it was going to be a hit," Stoll said later. "The guy (Kimminau) made a great play, no doubt about it. Those were the kind of plays that we made all year....but this one was made against us."

"It was a good game, with two good teams, and we fell short this time," according to coach Judd Naeger. "That's how baseball is....a hit there, a play there..things could have been different. Sometimes, when you, you know, walk sort of a tightrope to get where you're going, things don't work out."

Valle ends another stellar year as a school. The football team was first in state, and both girls and boys track programs joined them. The volleyball team finished second as well.

The Warriors lose seniors Alec Greminger, Tom Hermann and Alex Rollhaus, but return a healthy and motivated cast, including Stoll, who was philosophical.

"What's wrong with being number two in the state?" he said. "Sure, we all wanted the championship, but look how far we came."

Junior Tyler Litterest took a similar stance. "The most fun was proving people wrong all year," he said. "The more we heard we couldn't do something, the more we worked."

Click here for details of the game: http://www.mshsaa.org/Activities/DistrictWinners.aspx?alg=3&class=2&id=1

Click here for details of the 2-0 Valle win in the semifinals!: http://www.mshsaa.org/Activities/DistrictWinners.aspx?alg=3&class=2&id=2#GAME.NCA