Republic came within one out of upsetting state-ranked Nixa and spoiling the Eagles’ bid for a Central Ozark Conference championship before losing in extra innings 3-2. Nixa scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to overcome a 2-0 deficit, then scored the game-winner in the top of the ninth.
For most of the night, Republic outplayed the Eagles, but couldn’t take advantage of numerous scoring opportunities. In each of the first three innings, Republic’s first two batters reached base, but the Tigers only managed to take a 2-0 lead after three. The Tigers left 12 runners on base in total.
Republic out-hit Nixa 9-5 and made only one error to the Eagles’ two. And starting pitcher Tyler Cavener turned in a brilliant performance for Republic, holding the Eagles without a base hit until the fifth inning. He worked five innings, allowing just one ru, striking out four and walking two. He exited the game after walking the first two batters in the sixth inning, and one of those runners scored.
Vincent Pyeatt pitched well in relief, but got saddled with the loss. He allowed two runs on four hits in four innings of work.
Republic scored its first run in the second inning. Easton Prevo and Jared Hughes walked to open the inning, and Prevo eventually scored on a fielder’s choice.
In the third inning, Cavener and Kyle Hill both singled to start the inning, and Prevo hit an infield single to load the bases with one out. Cavener scored on a bases-loaded walk, but a pop-out and a strikeout ended the threat for Republic, keeping the score 2-0.
The loss spoiled what would have been an even sweeter Senior Night celebration for the Tigers with a win over the state’s third-ranked team.
“I hate it for them that we couldn’t come out on top there, because I feel like we dominated that game from the first pitch,” coach Curt Plotner said of his senior after the game. “But that’s just baseball sometimes, and we came up on the wrong end of it.”
Plotner, in his second year as head coach, says this year’s seniors––Tyler Cavener, Jacob Crosswhite, Clayton Crowley, Jaden Duvall, and Blade McCroskey––have helped build a foundation for the program he’s putting in place.
“They’ve bought into what we’re doing and they’ve done things the right way and just set an example for the guys behind them,” Plotner said. “Hopefully, that will continue for years to come.”
Republic falls to 12-11. The Tigers swept two games over the weekend in Springfield, beating Sedalia Smith-Cotton 3-1 and blowing out Springfield Glendale 11-1.
The Tigers are back in action Wednesday at Springfield Catholic before closing out the regular season at home against Marshfield Thursday.