Russellville falls to Canton in Class 2 quarterfinal

CANTON, Mo. — The Russellville Indians fell just short of the Final Four.

Canton brought in a run in the bottom of the eighth to defeat Russellville 8-7 in a Class 2 sectional game Wednesday night.

“When you get to this stage, and you’re tied in extra innings with a Final Four trip on the line, it’s hard to take,” Russellville head coach Lucas Branson said. “It’s tough on the kids.”

Tied at 7 heading to the bottom of the eighth, Canton got things started with a double. After a wild pitch moved the runner to third, Russellville elected to issue a pair of intentional walks to load the bases and create a force play at home.

With one out, Levi Gaus hit a ground ball to third base, and when Russellville was unable to make the play, the Tigers walked off with the win.

“Nothing to be ashamed of or disappointed with,” Branson said. “It’s something they’ll always remember.”

Russellville opened a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Canton made got a run back in the bottom of the frame.

That’s when the Indians’ Chandler Wolf launched a three-run homer to make it 5-1 Russellville.

Gaus and Austin Hoewing hit solo homers in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-3.

“We were in a tough spot with giving up a couple bombs that were hit in the second,” Branson said. “They don’t have a very big field. It’s the same for both teams. We just had to deal with that.”

The Tigers eventually took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the third, highlighted by Zach Dye’s two-run double.

After Canton tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth to make it 7-5, Russellville responded with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game.

Canton had a great chance to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out. Wolf then struck out the side to end the threat.

Canton’s Tyler Niemann barely missed a walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh, and instead had to settle for a double.

Canton finally got the run across in the eighth to advance to the Final Four to take on the Archie-West Platte winner at 7 p.m. Tuesday at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon.

Russellville’s Clayton Harrison went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Chase Smith went 2-for-5.

Russellville ends its season at 16-8.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Branson said. “They’ve worked hard all year. We won the district championship, which is something we talked about from Day 1.”

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