The Gibraltar baseball team fell one game shy of the Division 4 state tournament Tuesday, falling 5-3 to Athens in the Crivitz Sectional championship.
With the score tied 3-3 in the top of the seventh inning, Athens pushed across two runs to seal the win. The Vikings put a runner on base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning but were unable to score.
“Of course it was difficult to process that our season is over,” Vikings leadoff hitter Alex Laughlin said. “Especially for the seniors that have made so much of a difference to our school the past four years.”
Gibraltar took the lead in the second inning on a two-run double by Laughlin. After scoring two runs in the third inning to tie the game, Athens scored again in the fifth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Gibraltar tied the game in the sixth on an RBI by Dominic Krauel.
Laughlin went 4 for 4 with a pair of run-scoring doubles. Andras Szakala, Trevor Reinhardt and Krauel each had a hit. Reinhardt went 6 ⅓ innings, allowed three hits and struck out five.
The Vikings started out the day with a 9-2 win over Niagara in the semifinal. Luke Steebs tossed a complete game, scattered five hits and struck out four. After allowing two runs in the second inning, Steebs kept Niagara scoreless the rest of the game.
Gibraltar scored all of its runs in the second inning by taking advantage of Niagara’s pitching benevolence. Five walks to two hit batters led to five unearned runs. Spencer Krause, Dominic Krauel and Laughlin each picked up an RBI by drawing bases loaded walks. Reinhardt drove in two runs with a long sacrifice fly to right field and Griffin Reinhardt and Steebs each had a run scoring hit. Szakala was credited with an RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
“It was a very fun playoff run and am proud of all that we were able to accomplish this season,” Laughlin said of the Vikings, who finished 12-13. “Games like today you will never forget, and I’m happy we went out knowing we played great Gibraltar baseball.”