Carroll Merchant’s Sean Moore scores a run in the fourth inning off an RBI single by Eric Yachinach for a 3-2 lead over Storm Lake in Friday’s Pioneer Collegiate League championship game. Covering the plate for the Whitecaps is Blake Whitecotton. Storm Lake scored four runs in the seventh inning for an 8-5 win.
Carroll Merchant’s Sean Moore scores a run in the fourth inning off an RBI single by Eric Yachinach for a 3-2 lead over Storm Lake in Friday’s Pioneer Collegiate League championship game. Covering the plate for the Whitecaps is Blake Whitecotton. Storm Lake scored four runs in the seventh inning for an 8-5 win.

August 7, 2017

The Carroll Merchants were defeated 8-5 at Merchant’s Park Friday night at the hands of the Storm Lake Whitecaps after a competitive game for the inaugural Pioneer Collegiate League Championship.

Storm Lake’s Christian Montero lead the Whitecaps offense with a two-run home run at the top of the first. Montero would record another RBI in the top of the seventh. The Whitecap offense also benefitted from a Merchant defense that finished with five errors.

The Merchants also couldn’t find any rhythm at the pitcher’s mound, having gone through four pitchers before the top of the ninth.

“We weren’t very god at any faucet of the game,” said Carroll assistant head coach Cody Gardner, “We wish we could have went on a cleaner note, baseball wise. At the end of the day, all we can do is ask them to work hard and do the best that they can.”

Despite going into the bottom of the ninth down 8-3, the Merchants were able to mount a two run comeback which seemed to spark life into the still-full Merchants Park.

The comeback started when Carroll’s Sean Moore led off with a triple that nearly left the park. Moore would later cross the plate following a hit by Ben Kiefer which resulted in a single into the outfield.

Mitchell McCallister would record another RBI to close the score 8-5.

With the bases loaded, Storm Lake sent in Cade Moring to replace starting pitcher Spencer Wyent to secure the three run lead. Wyent pitched for eight and two-third innings for the Whitecaps.

Moring would close the game without allowing a run.

“We didn’t play how we wanted to,” Gardner said.  “We’re extremely proud of how we fought all year, especially tonight.”

The Merchants had been able to give a fight to the Whitecaps all night long, as they seemed to match the energy provided from the championship game. Carroll had to answer from the beginning.

Carroll was able to match Montero’s run at the top of the first with two runs of their own. The game would remain deadlocked 2-2 until the bottom of the fourth after a single RBI from Eric Yachinich giving the Merchants their first discernible lead of the game. Yachinich  would finish the game 3-4 at bat Friday night.

The lead for the Merchants stalled until the top of the seventh.

The Whitecaps were able to score four runs in the inning, including a trip home for Montero following an error to second base for the Merchants.

“Once we got that lead, we got a little tight. They saw the finish line and tried a little to hard. That’s what lead to errors that we don’t usually make,” Gardner said.

Jeremy Thorson finished the game at pitch for the Merchants. He took the mound at the top of the eighth. The Whitecaps would score twice more in the same inning. The Merchants would finish strong with two scores in the ninth, but the late offensive rally could not break a foundation of momentum laid by solid Whitecap defense throughout the game.

Gardner said that the Carroll coaching staff has not put much thought into next season. He said that there are five or six players that the Merchant’s would like to see back on the roster.

“We learned a lot going into the recruiting process,” Gardner said. “We’re going to do a better job looking at character and try to get guys that really want to be here and aren’t worried about stats.”

Zach Ruckman finished the game with a run scored and two hits. Zach Berry also scored a run.

Sean Moore had a triple and a single in the game. He also finished with a RBI and a run scored.

Ben Kiefer had a RBI and a run scored.