TIGERVILLE, SC – Catawba’s baseball season ended Saturday afternoon with a 6-5 loss to Mount Olive in the Southeast Regional.
Catawba (33-11) made a strong bid to recover from a 6-1 deficit, but fell one hit short.
It was the last game for an unusually strong senior class that had helped win a regional title in 2019 and had risen to a No. 2 national ranking in 2020 when that season was stopped by COVID.
Bryan Ketchie’s last pitching effort for the Indians was fantastic. Ketchie, who had thrown eight innings on Thursday, threw four innings with pointless relief and gave Catawba a chance to mount a comeback.
Mount Olive (37-11) had been on the short end of a skewed loss to Wingate that had started Friday night and spilled out Saturday morning, but the Trojans bounced back against Catawba starter Greg Brown. Joe Mason hit a three-run homer as Mount Olive knocked Brown out in fourth on his way to a 6-1 lead.
Catawba came alive late after Ketchie’s pitching.
Hunter Shepherd downloaded a three-run homer, his 12th of the season, at the bottom of the eighth to trim the Indians’ deficit to 6-4.
Then it got really exciting on the ninth.
Cameron Morrison made a mistake, and Henderson Lentz ran for Morrison. Joe Butts hit to the left before Bryce Butler put in the middle to score Lentz from second to 6-5. The Indians had runners on the corners with one out, but Cameron Mills hit a ground to third, and the Trojans were able to turn a game-ending double play.
Butler and Butts had two hits each for Catawba.