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Concord High baseball sees season end in 7-3 quarterfinal loss to Dover

  • Concord's Jon Dunn waits for the ball while Dover's Kyle Seawards slides safely to second base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Concord's Jon Dunn waits for the ball while Dover's Kyle Seawards slides safely to second base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Dover's Adam Arkell loses the ball while attemting to tag out Concord's Ben Bengtson at first base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Dover's Adam Arkell loses the ball while attemting to tag out Concord's Ben Bengtson at first base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Concord's Jon Dunn waits for the ball while Dover's Kyle Seawards slides safely to second base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Concord's Jon Dunn waits for the ball while Dover's Kyle Seawards slides safely to second base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Concord's Jon Dunn waits for the ball while Dover's Kyle Seawards slides safely to second base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Dover's Adam Arkell loses the ball while attemting to tag out Concord's Ben Bengtson at first base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Concord's Jon Dunn waits for the ball while Dover's Kyle Seawards slides safely to second base during the division I baseball quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

CONCORD – With temperatures in the mid-90s, it was hot enough at Memorial Field to make anyone swelter, but the Concord High baseball team had barely broken a sweat by the time things began to fall apart.

In what felt like the blink of an eye, the second-seeded Crimson Tide was down big, victims of a five-run second inning that put No. 10 Dover up early and, ultimately, for good, as a few potential rallies were cut short before Concord fell, 7-3, in the quarterfinals of the Divison I tournament.

“They got some, and we couldn’t stop the bleeding, couldn’t stop it,” said Concord Coach Scott Owen, whose team saw its reign as state champion end and record fall to 13-7. “But we fought and battled the whole game. I never thought we were out of the game until the end, and that’s a testament to our kids. … They played a great game, they got some big hits when they needed to. It just wasn’t our day today.”

Just like the first matchup between the two teams, a 9-6 Concord win in the season finale after the Tide grabbed a 6-1 lead, yesterday’s game was won by the team that seized control early. Each team scored a run in the first before Dover (12-9) went to work in the second, as Ryan Hayden led off with a single up the middle, Jake Bishop reached on an error and Aaron Dennis smacked a double into the left-field gap, scoring both runners and putting the Green Wave up 3-1.

Looking for a tourniquet, Owen lifted starter John Clary and brought in Cam Alosa, but the rally was just starting. A walk and an error loaded the bases, and Connor Rittenhouse was hit by a pitch to bring in the third run. Owen made another change, bringing in Seimou Smith, but a balk and a Casey Conroy single brought in two more runs before Concord could limp out of the inning.

“You just hope they didn’t get too many,” Owen said. “Hopefully we can put some runs on the board, they didn’t get too many, and obviously they did get too many.”

Five of Dover’s first six runs were driven in by seniors in Dennis, Rittenhouse and Conroy, and Green Wave Coach John Carver pointed out his veterans played a key role in maintaining the team’s poise.

“It was our seniors that took command,” he said. “Our senior (pitcher Kyle Seawards) gets a base hit ... gets a steal, then he scores the run (in the first inning). … Encourages his teammates when he gets in the dugout, and we then re-established again in the second inning.”

Concord chipped away in the bottom half when Smith reached on an error and scored on Ben Bengtson’s groundout, but couldn’t make up enough ground – though it got close. The Tide got two runners on in the fifth, but saw the rally crumble when Cody Ferns’s hard line drive went straight to left fielder Hayden and Braden Smith grounded out. The frustration continued in the sixth after Dover made it 7-2, as the Crimson Tide got a run on Jon Dunn’s RBI single but was denied further damage when Bengtson grounded out with two runners in scoring position.

“Base hit there and it’s a 7-5 game, and now we need two (runs),” Owen lamented. “Two innings there where, if you get a base hit, it’s a different game.”

Even Concord’s first run felt like a missed opportunity, as Braden Smith came up in the first with runners on the corners and drilled a sinking liner to left that Hayden dove and caught. Bengtson tagged and scored, but Dover was soon able to break the game open, and Concord was soon in for a tough afternoon against Seawards, who threw all seven innings while allowing seven hits and one earned run.

“Early in the game, we didn’t defend well, but he kept pitching well,” Carver said. “He is as good a player as we’ve ever had.”

A bright spot for the Tide was Seimou Smith, who kept the team afloat by going the final 5 2∕3 innings in relief, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the senior-laden Tide from seeing its season end earlier than anticipated.

“The only time it’s a little better saying goodbye is when you come out on top,” Owen said. “It doesn’t happen very often.”

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or at abonifant@cmonitor.com, or via Twitter @dbonifant.)

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