Ballard ends Bluejays season in lopsided quarterfinal

Sean Cordy - Correspondent
Avery Meister on the mound on Friday, July 17 during Perry's postseason loss to Ballard. PHOTO BY SEAN CORDY/THE PERRY CHIEF

There were a few wet eyes walking away from the final post game team meeting. There were also smiles as Perry (2-14) said farewell to Aaron Lyons following a 17-1 loss to Ballard (11-6) in the substate quarterfinal.

A new chapter

Though this was his first year as the skipper, Lyons had become a bit of a fixture at Perry as he was involved in coaching the Bluejays in fall, winter, spring and summer.

That year-round support, ranging from an assistant with the football team, weight training, and head coach on the hardwood the previous two seasons, had fostered a number of strong relationships. Seniors Kato Dougan, Avery Meister and Keghan West all got some private moments following the game to thank Lyons for all his guidance through the years.

“That’s what makes it so dang hard to leave, and I’m getting kind of emotional now thinking about it,” Lyons said. “It’s just one of those things where my next step is a big opportunity and stepping stone in my career.

Lyons officially resigned from his post on Monday as he was up for consideration for three positions outside of Perry. On Friday, he received offers for all three coaching positions.

On top of the world…for a moment

The last time the Bluejays faced Ballard, they couldn’t get a word in until the final inning of a 13-1 loss. This go-around, Perry made sure to start the conversation after getting up to bat first.

After Dougan was hit by a pitch and proceeded to steal second base, Gavin Hegstrom belted his third pitch up the middle to drive in Dougan for the 1-0 lead.

As a team that has focused on finding the little victories, Lyons said that run was a giant win for the program. Perry became just the third team to score in the first inning against the Bombers all season. Then Ballard responded with its own milestone.

Bombers live up to their name

There was a different sound from Bombers’ bats.

Collecting 15 hits over the course of four innings and holding Perry to just one hit, the Bombers’ 17 runs were a new season-high. They hit both for consistency and power. Thanks to Sam Petersen’s home run and Kade Reinertson’s triple in the third inning, the Bombers also had a season-high 29 total bases, and every slot every slot in the order scored at least one run with no room for Perry to stake a comeback.

“Great team, great coaching staff. They work hard and they get it,” Lyons said of the difficulty facing the No. 8 team in Class 3A. “It’s tough because they’re such a good squad. But that’s part of it. In order to get good, you have to beat good teams.”