EUCLID -- Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy baseball felt good about its chances heading into the Division II district final.
It had to feel even better after taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
But then, the nightmare began for the Royals.
Chagrin Falls scored nine runs in the bottom of the first inning, turning the district final May 16 at Kurt Stanic Field in Euclid on its ear. CVCA tried to rally late, but lost a 10-7 decision.
The Royals (15-10) were denied the district title for the second straight year by the Tigers (24-5), as Chagrin coach Mike Sweeney picked up win No. 300 of his career.
While praising his team for attempting a comeback, CVCA coach Jason Herblet was at a loss regarding the first inning.
"It's pretty unexplainable," Herblet said. "Steve Taylor has been battling for us all year. I knew we were going to have to score some runs to win. I knew it wasn't a going to be a 1-0 game like yesterday, but I would never have expected that."
Taylor (7-2), who will play baseball at Indiana Wesleyan University next year, lasted only 0.67 innings, giving up nine runs (six earned) on seven hits.
Things seemed to be going CVCA's way in the top of the first.
Josh Junko and Josh Thacker drew back-to-back walks to start the game. Drew Wilson then reached on an error, allowing Junko to score.
A fielder's choice by Taylor then made it 2-0.
After retiring the first man in the bottom of the first, however, the bottom dropped out on Taylor.
An error was followed by six straight singles by the Tigers, highlighted by two-run singles from right fielder Erik Wilson and third baseman Andrew Kwansy.
When catcher Cole Newbauer hit an RBI single to make it 8-2, Herblet pulled Taylor in favor of Matt Henning.
Newbauer would later score on a wild pitch to make it 9-2.
Henning entered in a tough spot, but he pitched well for the Royals, going 5.33 innings and giving up one earned run on six hits.
"He stopped the bleeding for us," Herblet said. "That was exactly what we needed."
Chagrin Falls made it 10-2 with an RBI double from shortstop Matt Bencko in the fourth inning, but Henning kept the Tigers quiet after that.
Tigers starting pitcher Colin Kennedy (6-1) left the game with a 10-2 lead, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits.
CVCA couldn't crack the scoreboard again until the top of the fifth inning. Chris Fair hit a lead-off triple, followed by an error of the bat of Wilson to make it 10-3.
Herblet complimented his team for not giving up despite the deficit, as the Royals tried to make things interesting in the top of the seventh.
With two outs, Fair was hit by a pitch and Wilson singled. Taylor then ripped a two-run double to the fence in right.
Taylor Sobiech followed with an RBI single to score Taylor and designated hitter Christian Isaacs smacked an RBI double to left to make it 10-7.
With the potential tying run on deck, Sweeney lifted Kwansy and sent Ben Ceverello to the mound to get the final out. Ceverello got Henning to ground out to second to end the game.
Herblet will say goodbye to Taylor, Fair, James Hancock, Matt Miller and Luke Leonard. who graduate this spring. Herblet noted his seniors helped change the culture of CVCA baseball.
"It's been a great group of guys to coach," Herbelt said. "They've done great things for this program."