Nine runs and 16 hits will usually get the job done most nights.
But it wasn’t enough Saturday for the Milton Raptors, who fell into an eight-run hole and couldn’t make up the difference in an 11-9 loss to the Hustisford Astros in a Rock River League first-round playoff game.
The Raptors (9-6) trailed 10-2 after four innings but chipped away at their disadvantage, scoring three runs in the fifth and three runs in the eighth to tighten the final margin.
Milton will travel to Neosho for an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. today. The Raptors lost twice to the Rockets during the regular season. Top-seeded Hustisford will host Clyman, which defeated Neosho 7-5 on a walk-off home run in Saturday’s other first-round game.
“It was just too steep of a hill to climb,” Milton manager Doug Welch said of the loss to Hustisford. “That diamond plays like a softball park and there are a lot of runs scored.”
In two meetings at Hustisford’s Village Park this season, the Astros and Raptors have combined for nine home runs and 65 hits.
Josh Shere gave the Raptors an early lead when he connected for a two-run home run in the top of the first. The Astros answered with four runs and added three more in the second inning.
Milton starter Sean McCann struck out nine and walked four in a complete-game effort. The veteran right-hander struggled early, but limited Hustisford to one run over the final four innings.
“He wasn’t real sharp in the first few innings, but he settled down and was outstanding over the last four innings,” Welch said. “He kept us in the game.”
Noah Berghammer’s two-run single keyed Milton’s three-run fifth. The Raptors totaled five hits in the eighth. Jeff Jacobson and Kade Bohlman each had RBI singles.
Sam McCann’s solo homer in the ninth made it 11-9.
HUSTISFORD 11, MILTON 9Milton 200 030 031—9 16 2
Hustisford 430 300 10x—11 12 1
Sean McCann; Lietzau, Pieter (6), Massey
Leading hitters—Berghammer (M) 3x5, Shere (M) 2x4, Malmanger (M) 4x4, Jacobson (M) 2x4, Lietzau (H) 3x5, Roesler (H) 2x4. 2B—Malmanger, Lietzau. HR—Shere, Sam McCann (M), Lietzau, Kaul (H).
SO—McCann 9, Lietzau 2, Pieter 1. BB—McCann 4, Lietzau 2.