DEXTER — The Cedar Vale/Dexter baseball team opened the season with much fanfare, winning five straight and nine of 10 to start the season.
That season came to an end Monday afternoon with a 6-2 loss to Wichita Independent in the championship game of the Class 2-1A Regional Tournament.
“Yesterday’s game was well-played by both teams,” CVD coach Luke Wachter said. “They just made a couple more plays than we did.”
The Spartans (16-4) captured the South Central Border League regular-season title with a 15-2 record and reached the title game of the postseason league tourney, where they lost 12-1 to Flinthills on May 10, snapping a six-game winning streak.
They still took the No. 1 seed into the 2-1A Regional, and defeated Udall 16-1 in Monday’s quarterfinals.
Independent, meanwhile, survived a six-game losing skid early in the season and rolled into the 2-1A Regional having won three straight.
The fifth-seeded Panthers (13-10) whipped fourth-seeded West Elk 14-0 in Monday’s quarterfinals.
No. 2 seed Flinthills defeated sixth-seeded Central of Burden 4-2 on Monday to reach the semifinals.
Independent rolled to a 16-2 upset of the Mustangs later Tuesday for the Regional title.
Cedar Vale/Dexter junior Arik Artherton was locked in a scoreless pitchers’ duel with Independent’s Brett Collins for three innings Tuesday.
The Panthers finally got to Artherton with a three-run fourth inning, but Cedar Vale/Dexter answered with two in the bottom of the inning.
It stayed that way until the seventh, when Independent tacked on three insurance runs.
Artherton went the distance on the mound, giving up seven hits and one walk, with five strikeouts. Five of the six runs allowed were unearned, the result of three CVD errors.
“Arik Artherton was fantastic on the mound — couldn’t have asked for anything more from him,” Wachter said. “He was locked in and gave us a chance to win.”
Collins went 6 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and three walks, with 12 strikeouts. One of the two runs he allowed was unearned. Josh Jacobsen struck out one in 2/3 of an inning.
Dylan Carnley went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI for the Panthers. Waylon Chance had two hits and scored a run.
Artherton finished 3 for 4, and senior Brayden Snyder had the other hit. Jasper Young and Logan Wallace also are seniors playing their final game in Spartans uniforms.
“The seniors will be missed — all three seniors were four-year starters and were a big part of our success the last four years,” Wachter said. “They were part of our first-ever league championship since combing schools as sophomores, and league championship as seniors.”
Independent 6, CVD 2