Indians push Martin before bowing out

The Keller baseball team lacked timely hitting in their bi-district playoff series with Arlington Martin, sending the Indians home after dropping the series, 2-1.

Keller rocked the highly regarded Warriors in the first game as the Indians belted out 11 hits in a 12-1 win on Thursday.

Martin came back and won the next two games, 3-0 and 5-1, respectively, ending the season for Keller (20-13-1).

“We didn’t take advantage of opportunities,” said Keller head coach Rob Stramp.

Case in point for Keller was in Game 2.

The Indians left the bases loaded in two different innings and failed to push a run across in either opportunity.

“If we get a big hit, it could turn the game around,” Stramp said. “We just didn’t get a clutch hit when we needed it.”

Stramp likened the series’ final two games to how the season went for the Indians.

“That’s sort of how our season went,” he explained. “We went through spells when we didn’t hit in those situations. We’d get in a lull and then we started to produce and it put pressure on the defense.

“It’s a little frustrating,” Stramp added. “I didn’t feel like we were outmatched.”

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Certainly, there was no intimidation factor working against the fourth-seeded Keller as they took on the District 3-5A champions.

The frustration was compounded by not being able to maintain the lineup Keller had worked all season to assemble. The Indians’ starting catcher was unavailable in the final two games.

In the series opener, Keller was able to get the big hits early and generate momentum. Shea Langeliers had three hits in the game and Chandler Carter picked up the win for Keller.

But the lack of big hits at the right time doomed Keller in the final two games.

Still, Stramp was able to reflect on the success of a team which was just 3-5 in the district after the first round on the schedule.

“It was hard right after the game,” Stramp said. “The thing with this team, they were 3-5 and finished 5-2 the rest of the way and winning four extra-inning games. I think it’s a real tribute to this team. Most teams would have folded their tents.

“We showed a tremendous amount of character,” he added.

“When all is said and done and you get past the disappointment, you have to look at their achievement and how they got there and take a lot of pride,” Stramp said.

Keller is still a young team, starting three sophomores this year, and Stramp hopes the experience of this season isn’t wasted when they begin the long process again to return to the playoffs next year.

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