ELYRIA — Elyria West used all of its grit and resources to trump three home runs by Elyria East and send the Senior League district championship into a final game this afternoon.
For sure, West showed its own power — a first-inning two-run homer by Jason Neuschaefer that capped a three-run inning—but more telling were seven walks, three hit batsmen, eight stolen bases and some heads-up base-running.
West closed out a 7-6 victory over host East with a 6-4-3 double play with the tying and winning runs on base to force a decisive game at West today at 2 p.m. The winner will advance to state at Maumee on July 21. It should be a good one. The Elyria rivals have split a pair of one-run games this season.
“I feel that both are good teams,” said West manager Steve Thompson. “It’s a shame that both teams can’t go to state.”
“When you play West, you’ve got to be ready to scrap,” said East manager Kurt Koepf. “If you have any letdowns, it’s trouble.”
East has won the last three Senior League district titles and seemed poised to win a fourth Saturday, being in the winners’ bracket undefeated. West, meanwhile, had to go through the losers’ bracket, capped on Friday by a victory over Barberton, a game in which Thompson used three pitchers.
TOM MAHL / CHRONICLE
Elyria West shortstop Jacob Neuschaefer fields a grounder during Saturday’s action.