They came in young, armed and dangerous.
They exited when an opposing arm kept their bats nearly silent.
The Harper Creek baseball team managed only two hits against Tecumseh junior right-hander Phil Carey — a pair of singles by senior first baseman Bailey Weesies — en route to dropping a 5-0 decision to the Indians on Saturday morning in a Division 2 regional semifinal showdown at Carleton Airport High School.
Harper Creek completed its 2013 slate with an overall record of 17-10, a week after winning a district tourney at Pennfield. The winner of the Carleton regional advanced to this coming Tuesday’s quarterfinal round at Battle Creek’s Bailey Park — with the MHSAA baseball (and softball) championships set for June 14-15 in the Cereal City.
Beaver sophomore right-hander Joe Stasa no-hit the Indians (29-5-3) through four innings.
But Tecumseh got to him with one run in the fifth and four more in the sixth. And Stasa then gave way to the other half of Harper Creek’s young and talented mound duo, junior Mickey Barea, who put out the fire.
Yet the damage was done.
All the Beavers managed offensively were singles by Bailey Weesies in the second and fourth innings. Barea also rocketed a shot to deep left-center field in the third, but the ball was caught near the fence.
“It’s always tough to lose during tournament time, but I’m not disappointed at all. We have a lot of quality-character kids on this young team … and today we just lost to a very good Tecumseh team,” said Harper Creek coach Chad Dishaw.
“We battled today, we battled all during the season, we got better and better as the season went along, we played hard today, but it was just one of those days.”
Weesies, along with Nate Hicks, were the only seniors on Harper Creek’s roster.
“They just exploded in that one inning against us today. We battled them hard the whole game, but they managed to get to our No. 1 pitcher in that one inning, and that’s just how it goes sometimes.'”
Stasa said a bit of wildness in the sixth inning on his part enabled Tecumseh to break the one-run game wide open.
“I was having trouble locating my pitches in that one inning, so I had to put them right down the middle. And once I did that, that’s when they really started hitting the ball and got all those runs,” Stasa said.
“It was a disappointing loss today, a tough way to go out and end the season. But hopefully we’ll learn from this. We were a really young team this year, but now we’ll all just try to get bigger and stronger and get back to this level next year and get past it and win it the next time around.”