Somehow it slipped through their hands.
Up by six runs, and six outs away from a trip to Columbia to take part in their first Class 1 Baseball Final Four, the Thayer Bobcats watched as the Oran Eagles ruined their dream of a state title with a seven-run rally late in the contest to claim a 9-8 victory in the quarterfinals May 28 at Thayer.
Taking the hill in the bottom of the sixth with his team on top 8-2, Bobcat starter Anthony Martin got into a jam by walking the first two Eagles he faced in the frame.
These walks would come back to haunt Thayer (17-5) as Oran (22-3) plated three runs in the sixth, one on a hit, one on a hit batter with the sacks full, and the last one on a sacrifice fly that cut the Cats' lead to 8-5 after six innings of play.
For the game, Martin allowed seven hits, while walking four, fanning nine and hitting three Eagles.
After Thayer was kept off the scoreboard in the top of the seventh, the Eagles continued their game-winning rally in the home-half of the frame.
Aaron Henry, on in relief of Martin, started out in fine fashion by striking out the first Eagle he faced, before the dam burst.
Much like in the sixth, a pair of walks damaged Thayer's efforts, as a base hit brought in one run for Oran.
With the winning run at the plate and runners on second and third with two outs, a hit past short plated two more runs for the Eagles, as they locked the score at 8-all.
An intentional walk was then issued to Oran's Garrett Roslen, setting up a force play with runners on second and third.
Unfortunately for Thayer, Joey Williams stepped into the batter's box and drilled a hit to center that brought the winning run home, giving Oran a remarkable comeback from six runs down, as they scored seven times in the last two innings.
The game started out similar to Thayer's tilt with Valley in the sectional round, as the Cats fell behind early before grabbing the lead.
The Eagles crossed the plate twice in the bottom of the first to lead 2-zip after one. The Bobcats got on the board in the top of the second as a balk on Eagle starter Matt Seyer allowed Carl Hunter, who had been hit by a pitch earlier in the frame, to come home from third.
Thayer tied the game at 2-all thanks to a solo homer over the 330-feet mark in left center from Martin in the top of the third.
Making their move in the fifth, the Bobcats broke open the deadlocked game with a pair of runs.
Andrew Eckman swatted a sacrifice fly that scored Taco White, and Hunter followed with a shot that dropped into the porch in short left field that brought in Henry to give Thayer a 4-2 lead.
It looked for all intents and purposes that Thayer had put the game on ice with four more runs in the top of the sixth to cushion their margin to 8-2.
John Tollenaar got in on the RBI-action with a single to center that plated Nicholas Sims, and Martin followed that with a sacrifice fly to deep left that scored Henry, and chased Seyer from the mound and out of the game.
Eckman said "Hello" to Eagle reliever Chase Seyer by slamming a triple to right field that drove in two, staking the Cats to a six-run margin.
However, the Eagle bats warmed up in the last two innings as Oran took advantage of the opportunities presented them with a seven-run rally for the win.
Eckman paced the Cats with a triple and five ribbies, while Martin added a pair of runs-batted-in on a homer and single. Tollenaar struck for a base hit, double and RBI, with Hunter logging an RBI on a hit. Henry posted a double, and Dustin Hatterman recorded three hits for Thayer. White contributed with a couple of hits, while Sims added a base hit.