A common refrain when a high school sports team celebrates Senior Day is “no regrets.”
Coaches often tell players to leave it out on the field and not have reason to look back and wish they had done something differently.
For Hollister High School’s baseball team, there was nothing to regret about Wednesday afternoon’s Senior Day game against East Newton.
The Tigers played a near-flawless game in an 11-1, six-inning victory over the Patriots.
Hollister pounded out nine hits, scored in all but one inning, played errorless ball in the field and did not issue a walk.
It was a nice follow-up, coming a week after the Tigers lost three games – to Springfield Catholic, Mt. Vernon and Strafford.
“That was a great response by our kids, after last week and a couple of heartbreaking games and losses,” Hollister coach Trent Oxenreider said. “We came out and played hard, did things right. We are trying to get back to our roots a little bit.”
It didn’t take long for Hollister to get going on Wednesday.
The Tigers struck for three first-inning runs, then added one in the second, one in the third, two in the fifth and four in the sixth to end the game.
Konner Hatfield led off the Hollister first with a walk, then Logan Armitage and Layton Morgan followed with RBI doubles, and Morgan stole home as part of a double steal.
Josh Willis walked to lead off the second, stole second and third, then scored on a Hatfield groundout.
Landon Richards reached on a three-base throwing error with one out in the third, scoring on a Garrett Moody sacrifice fly.
Moody turned in a nice piece of hitting to drive in a pair of runs in the fifth. With one out, Armitage doubled and Morgan followed with a walk. After another out, Moody battled through a two-strike count, eventually slapping an opposite-field single to right field, scoring two runs.
The Tigers ended the game in the fifth, when Avery Weber walked and Hatfield followed with a double to put runners on second and third with one out.
Armitage drove in one run with a single, and Morgan delivered a two-run bloop double to right field on a two-strike count. After a popout for the second out of the inning, Moody ended the game with a run-scoring double to plate Morgan.
Hollister pitchers Moody and Weber were the beneficiaries of that offensive output. Moody started and worked the first three innings, giving up one run on three hits. Weber came on and yielded two hits in three scoreless innings.
The victory pushed Hollister’s record to 11-9 overall, and was the latest in a string of impressive wins the Tigers have posted this season – adding to wins over Ava, Logan-Rogersville, Fair Grove and Reeds Spring.
Add in Thursday’s game, and those five victories were over teams with a combined record of 80-34.
“I think our makeup this year, we’ve proven that we can play with some people, and we’re in games,” Oxenreider said. “As long as we don’t hurt ourselves and we give ourselves a chance, people know that they are going to have to play well to beat us.”
The game marked the final regular-season home game for five Hollister seniors: Josh Willis, Logan Armitage, Avery Weber, Garrett Moody and Alexander Perez.
The team does, though, have some remaining action left on its home field. Hollister will host the Class 4 District 11 Tournament, starting next Saturday.
The Tigers collected the fifth seed and will play No. 4 Bolivar at 1 p.m. next Saturday in a first-round game. No. 3 Springfield Catholic and No. 6 Reeds Spring will play at 3:30 p.m.
The semifinals are set for May 13, with top-seeded (and state Class 4 top-ranked) Aurora playing the Bolivar-Hollister winner at 4:30 p.m., and second-seeded Logan-Rogersville playing the Catholic-Reeds Spring winner at 7 p.m.
Oxenreider draws some optimism from the fact that the district tournament will be on home grounds.
“We’ve played fairly well at home, and I think that gives us an added bonus,” Oxenreider said. “We’ll just roll with the mixture we’ve been using the whole year, and will go compete. Our kids will compete, I know that for a fact.”