An outstanding season was finally brought to an end. The Batavia varsity baseball team was eliminated from tournament play with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Columbus St. Francis DeSales. The battle was in the Division II regional semi-finals that took place in Springfield.
DeSales grabbed the lead immediately by scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. The Bulldogs tied the score at one by tallying a run in the top of the fifth on Alex Fisler’s two-out single. The Stallions won the game in the bottom of the seventh inning on a hit after two were out.
The Bulldogs and their supporters were devastated, but head coach Brian Lyons was very proud of his team’s tournament performance.
“We played in the tournament as I expected we would. We had experience. The corps of the group has been together since they were freshmen. In the tournament they turned up the intensity and their level of play.”
Lyons singled out a few of his charges for particularly impressive efforts.
"Ryan Beard (senior right hand pitcher and centerfielder) gave up just three runs in his last five games (Cincinnati Hills Christian, Wilmington, Clermont Northeastern, Bellbrook, and DeSales). He's been phenomenal.
"Matt Beitman (senior designated hitter) was one of our most consistent hitters. He had an incredible 30 RBI (runs batted in, in just 25 games).
"Ryan Anstaett (sophomore third baseman and first baseman) was one of our most solid contact hitters.
"Kris Hecktor (right hand pitcher and shortstop) hit .464 and struck out just one time in 92 at bats.
"J. D. Little (junior catcher) developed into our outstanding hitter. . . He absolutely neutralized our opponents' running game.
"Eric Roberts (junior "Mister Everywhere") was our gold glove winner."
Lyons was were proud of his entire group of seniors.
"They showed tremendous leadership and set a great example for the rest of the team."
The seniors were Graham Foreman (outfielder), Andrew Gullion (first baseman), Jake Florez (third baseman), Fisler (second baseman), Beard, and Beitman.
"Our goal for next year is to go back to the regionals. It's an insatiable desire. We have a corps group of kids coming back and the JV (junior varsity) was very successful. . . I'm very excited about next year," Lyons said.
Statistically, Little led the Bulldogs with 30 runs scored, 11 stolen bases and a .994 fielding percentage (for more than 150 chances). Beitman had five home runs and 30 RBI, Hecktor had a .464 batting average (for more than 50 at bats) and three triples, and Anstaett had 11 doubles.
Other leaders were Foreman .583, Beitman .459, Roberts .443, Little .436, Florez .421, and Anstaett .400 (hitting average); Roberts 29, Hecktor 25, Beard 18, Anstaett 17, Beitman 16, Fisler 14, Ryan Goldbach 13, and Foreman 10 (runs scored). Anstaett 26, Little 24, Hecktor 22, and Roberts 20 (RBI), Hecktor nine, Little seven, and Beitman and Roberts six (doubles), Roberts two and Goldbach one (home run), and Roberts 10 (stolen bases).
On the mound, Beard, Hecktor, Roberts, and Korey Eads had three wins each, Beitman and Eads with a save apiece, Beitman 1.00 and Beard 1.75 (earned run average), Beard 50 (strikeouts, 32 innings pitched), and Beard .154 (opponents' batting average).
The Batavia baseball and fast pitch softball teams both qualified for the regional tournament, the first time in Clermont County sports history the same school had both diamond teams as regional qualfiers during the spring season.