Regina coach Andy Gahan never likes losing a baseball game, especially when city bragging rights are one the line.
That was the case Sunday, but Regina’s game against City High was about more than just wins and losses.
It was the exclamation point to a day dedicated to fathers and to the game of baseball.
City hung on to defeat Regina 7-5 to cap a full day of baseball at Mercer Park. The festivities started with the first Father-Son baseball camp at Mercer Park and was followed by games matching the two schools at the freshmen level, the junior-varsity level and finally the varsity showdown.
Gahan was instrumental in getting the event started with the goal always to play on Sunday. The fact that it fell on Father’s Day was a bonus.
“It just worked out that way, ironically,” Gahan said of playing on Father’s Day. “I just wanted to play on Sunday when we could get more people and generate a nice crowd. And have a good baseball game.”
High schools rarely schedule sporting events on Sunday, but Gahan had tried for a while to arrange a game against either City or West High on Sunday. The pieces fell into place after Brian Mitchell was hired as the City baseball coach in 2011.
Mitchell was a former standout baseball player at City, as was Gahan at Regina. They’ve built a friendship over the years, and they both have a passion for baseball and want to promote the sport.
“I wanted to play a game (on Sunday) against City High or West High years and years ago and could never get anything to transpire,” Gahan said. “And finally when Brian got the job a couple years ago, he bought into it and he wanted to play on Sunday.
“It was a nice crowd, a great atmosphere. It was a lot of fun.”
The day was a total success for Mitchell, starting with the father-son camp.
“Our goal is promoting baseball in the community and really creating a great environment and a way that kids can come and watch high school players, look up to them, but learn from them throughout the day,” Mitchell said. “So our camp was outstanding for the first year. And Father’s Day made it even more special.”
As for the game, Regina scored three runs in the top of the first inning on four hits, but the Little Hawks (11-7) answered with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first.
City scored three more runs in the bottom of the second and one in the fourth, which proved to be enough.
Senior shortstop Sam Mrstik and junior second baseman Mitch Wieland each had two hits and scored two runs for City. Senior Josh Crosby also had two hits and pitched the final two innings in relief, allowing no runs to secure the victory.
“We’ve been putting it together lately,” said Mrstik, who bats second in the lineup. “The top part of our lineup, we’ve been getting it done. And hopefully, we can just continue it.”
The sixth batter in City’s lineup, senior third baseman Mitch Hasler, also got it done by smacking a two-run single in the first inning.
“Mitch Hasler coming through with that hit in the first inning was critical,” Mitchell said.
Senior southpaw Nathan Goddard overcame a rocky first inning to get the victory on the mound for City. He scattered seven hits and walked just one batter over five innings.
“It was key for him to get out of that (first) inning and then for our kids to come back and put three right back up,” Mitchell said. “And then again in the second inning putting three (runs) back up.”
Junior Adam Ries pitched well in relief for Regina. He needed just one pitch to end the fourth inning with a double play and he retired the side in both the fifth and sixth inning.
“He did a real nice job,” Gahan said Ries. “That’s a nice hitting ball club, a real nice hitting ball club.”
Senior second baseman Fritz Wagner led Regina with three hits and scored one run. Senior third baseman John Ries and senior catcher Mark Ward both hit doubles for the Regals, who fell to 12-7.
Jake Brinkman, Adam Ries (4) and Mark Ward; Nathan Goddard, Josh Crosby (5) and Tyler Stika. W – Goddard. L — Brinkman. 2B – Mark Ward (R), John Ries (R), Mitch Wieland (C).