One night after collecting 13 runs on ten hits, the Huffman Falcons managed just 7 hits and one run in a two-night doubleheader to end their season falling to the West Orange Stark Mustangs 3-1 and 6-0 in the regional finals. The doubleheader loss brought an abrupt and disappointing end to an otherwise historic season.
In the first game on Thursday afternoon, Huffman starter Matthew Bunpas and WOS starter Aiden Anderson pitched their way in and out of trouble early. West Orange loaded the bases in the first but Bumpas and the Falcons escaped unscathed. Huffman lost a runner at the plate in the home half of the first.
“We just need 21 outs and the lead,” said Falcons head coach Tom DeBerry prior to the start of game two. “Worse case we need 42 outs to advance. We just need to get it done.”
The Falcons could not get it done though as the Mustangs struck for a second inning run and never looked back. A walk, a hitbatsman and a single loaded the bases before Payton Robertson’s sacrifice fly gave West Orange first blood.
An error in the sixth opened the gate for another Mustangs run. Clean-up hitter Jack Dallas drove home Robertson for a 2-0 lead.
Huffman reached Anderson for a sixth inning run to cut the lead in half. Richard Marches got things started with a single. The Huffman center fielder was eventually forced out at second on a hit off the bat of Cody Stone. Stone would eventually come around to score on a single by Dylan Lorfing and a throwing error. It was as close as Huffman would be all night.
West Orange added an insurance run in the top of the seventh on an extra base hit from Dallas and an rbi knock from Aiden Anderson to seal a 3-1 win and force game three.
A lack of timely hitting proved to be Huffman’s undoing in game two and subsequently on game three. The Falcons left nine runners on in game two including five in scoring position.
Game 3 West Orange 6 Huffman 0
Game three started much the same as game two. Huffman had runners and second and third against West Orange starter Jack Dallas. Dallas entered the game 2-0 in his last two game three starts recording 20 strikeouts and scattering six hits.
Huffman threatened again the second before wasting a Stephen Keller lead-off double. The Mustangs did not miss on their second inning opportunity stringing together consecutive hits from Aiden Anderson and K.J. Miller before Ryan Ragsdale’s sacrifice fly gave Dallas all the run support he would need.
Things got worse for the Falcons and better for the Mustangs as the game wore on. Huffman left runners on scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth but could not capitalize on four West Orange errors in the game.
“You could feel the game getting away from us,” continued DeBerry. “The bounces we got the night before went their way tonight and we couldn’t stop it. Really heartbreaking.”
Meanwhile the Mustangs were tacking on solo runs in the third and fifth before chasing Huffman starter Cody Stone with a three run sixth.
Dallas set down Huffman 1-2-3 in the seventh for a complete game four strikeout performance.
West Orange ( 26-10) rallied from a one game deficit for the third straight series to advance to next week’s state tournament.
“The guys played their hearts out all season,” concluded DeBerry.”It hurts to get this far and have the season end like it did but these guys can be proud of things they accomplished. They achieved things that no other team in school history has ever done.”
Huffman (26-6) fell one game shy of a state tournament berth, the farthest any team had reached in school history. The Falcons set a new standard for winning in 2015 recording 26 wins for the first time.
Written by: Lou Roesch