The Highlanders saw their season draw to a close in a heart-breaking 6-5 loss to St. Joseph-Notre Dame on May 21 in the second round of the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs at College of Alameda.
Piedmont jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the game, and still led 5-2 entering the bottom of the sixth. But the Pilots scored one in the sixth and three in the seventh to advance to the semifinals. The winning run scored on a bases loaded walk to Tommy Cooke.
Piedmont finished the season 17-10.
The Highlanders jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Two walks and an error loaded the bases with nobody out. Ryan McConathy drew a walk to force in the first run of the game. Markos Lagios followed with a single to knock in another. One out later, Dimitri Papahadjopoulos drew a walk to make it 3-0.
However, St. Joseph-Notre Dame pitcher Daniel Velichko recovered and stopped the damage right there. He struck out Evan McConathy and Will Sprague to end the inning.
Cameron Murphy got a run back for St. Joes in the bottom of the first by reaching on a dropped third strike and going to second on a throwing error. He went to third on a fly out and scored on a ground out.
Matteo George replaced Velichko in the third. He walked the first two batters in the fourth and was replaced by Dylan Stewart. He walked the next hitter to load the bases, and Nick DeFazio then singled in two. Piedmont missed out on a shot at a bigger inning, as Ryan McConathy struck out, DeFazio got picked off at first, and Lagios struck out.
Highlander starter Tobin Cantrill allowed just one hit through three innings. He committed an error on a ground ball hit by Atticus Gonzalez leading off the fourth, then was touched for a run-scoring double by Tommy Cooke. A line drive double play helped Cantrill get out of the jam.
Piedmont again loaded the bases with one out in the top of the sixth, but came up empty. Lagios flew out for the second out, and Will Parker struck out to end the threat.
A Gonzalez double and a Casey Gorman-Miller triple made it 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Sprague came on to relieve Cantrill and got Collin Ng to pop out.
In the seventh, Sprague struck out Velichko to start the inning. But he then allowed a walk and a single. Robbie Fintland singled in one run, and Stewart followed with a single to tie the score. Gonzalez walked to load the bases and Cooke then walked to win the game.
Cantrill went 5 2/3 innings, charged with three runs (one earned) on five hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Sprague took the loss, going 2/3 of an inning, allowing three runs on three hits with a strikeout and three walks.
Stewart got the win for the Pilots, going the final 4 innings and allowing just three hits. He struck out nine and walked three.