Milton Raptors lose playoff game, star player
The Milton Raptors might have lost more than just a game in Sunday's Rock River League playoff matchup against Neosho.
Joe Shere, the RRL's MVP last season, injured his hamstring while beating out an infield single in the third inning of Sunday's 8-3 loss.
Shere had already pitched two innings and belted a solo home run when the injury occurred, forcing Dave Sagaitis to take the mound for the Raptors.
“It compromised our pitching early in the game and threw us a little bit in disarray,” Milton manager Doug Welch said.
The Raptors built a 3-2 lead through six innings despite the injury. Sagaitis pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing a lone run in the fifth inning, before giving up a pair of walks in the sixth. Welch called on Sean McCann, who pitched a complete game Saturday, to take advantage of a matchup with Neosho's Matt Beyer. McCann got Beyer out, and Welch had a decision to make.
He sent McCann back out for the seventh, and the fatigued pitcher gave up a leadoff single, three walks and a double in succession to start what became a six-run inning for Neosho.
“Sometimes you manage with your gut,” Welch said. “My gut was right in the sixth, but I probably should've shut Sean down after that.”
Milton will wait to learn more about Shere's injury. Welch is hopeful his star player can at least play in the field and bat in an elimination game against the Madison Black Sox at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Milton's Schilberg Park.
Saturday's winner will travel to Neosho on Sunday and would have to win twice to advance to the Rock River League championship series against whichever team comes out of the league's North Division.
NEOSHO 8, MILTON 3
Milton 101 010 000—3 9 2
Neosho 010 010 60x—8 9 0
Joe Shere, Dave Sagaitis (3), McCann (6), T.J. Klawitter (7) and Allison; Panitti and Petri.
Leading hitters—Joe Shere (M) 2x2, Josh Shere (M) 2x4, Allison (M) 2x4, Sagaitis (M) 2x4, Lauersdorf (N) 2x5, Lawrence (N) 2x4, Kaul (N) 2x3, Petri (N) 2x3. 2B—Lawrence, Petri. HR—Joe Shere.
SO—Joe Shere 1, Sagaitis 2, T.J. Klawitter 1, Panitti 4. BB—Joe Shere 1, Sagaitis 2, McCann 3, Panitti 3.