Cardinals can't cap special season with trip to state, fall in Super-Sectional

MOLINE, Ill. (WIFR) -- Stillman Valley's season came to a heartbreaking end in the 3A Augustana College Super-Sectional with a 16-8 loss to Morton in nine innings.

The Cardinals were blitzed by the Potters for five runs in the first three innings, four coming off the bat of Vinne Massaglia's pair of two-run home runs.

But Stillman Valley has played the underdog role all postseason long and chipped away at the Morton lead.

A Jack Riley single in the bottom of the third made it 5-2. After Morton scored again in the fifth to regain its four-run lead, the Cardinals started their scoring onslaught.

Tyler Schlaf got things started with a double to deep center field which scored Austin Dowty. Then the next batter, Jonah Anderson drove in Schlaf to make it 6-4 after five.

Evan Christensen's RBI single in the sixth brought Stillman Valley back within one. After an Andrew Wilhite sacrifice fly tied the game at seven, Riley gave the Cardinals their first lead with a sac fly of his own. Stillman was somehow just three outs away from state.

However, no lead was safe in this one. Potters put up two in the top of the seventh to retake the lead 8-7.

But just like they've done all playoffs long, the Cardinals didn't quit. Down to their last strike, Noah Wenberg drove in Adam Wenberg to tie the game at eight, forcing extra innings.

Unfortunately, Stillman would run out of gas and run out of pitching arms. Morton put up an eight spot on the board in the top of the ninth, a number too much too overcome. The Potters had 23 hits in the win.

The Cardinals finish their season with 30 wins, the most in program history, and their first ever sectional championship.