Tuesday, September 19, 2017 Elyria 69°


Hot Stove Baseball: Columbia Station Precision Installs falls in state title game


 ALLIANCE — Tough team, tough loss.
Columbia Station Precision Installs fell just short of a
Class G (ages 11-12) Hot Stove state title Sunday when it lost 2-0 to Alliance Pizza Hood at Butler-Rodman Park.
Pizza Hood scored single runs in the third and fifth innings and Columbia had no answers offensively, managing just three hits.
“It’s a shame we had to lose,” Columbia manager Jim Banyasz said. “Both teams played well with excellent defensive plays. That shows you why we’re here. We played some tough games to get here.”
They don’t get much tougher than Sunday’s, considering the loss came against a Pizza Hood team that finished the season 32-0.
“We set a goal to go unbeaten and to win the state championship early this season,” Pizza Hood manager Jeff Cannon said. “We accomplished that goal but were pushed to do so by a very good Precision Installs team.”
After both teams went in order in the first inning, Columbia threatened with one out in the top of the second. Sean Nagle and John Cordell hit back-to-back singles and moved up on a wild pitch. But they were left stranded when a pair of strikeouts put an end to the uprising.
In the bottom of the second, Pizza Hood first baseman Hunter Cannon smacked a one-out double to left but was left stranded when a pop out and a ground out kept the game scoreless.
Columbia shortstop Nick Bene led off the top of the third with a single and moved up on a passed ball. A ground out and two pop outs squelched the threat. Bene’s hit turned out to be the last one for Precision Installs.
Alliance second baseman Alex Benedetti led off the bottom of the third with an infield single on a slow roller to short and promptly stole second base. After a strikeout, winning pitcher Shawn Kirk singled Benedetti home with the game’s first run. A pop out to losing pitcher Jay Banyasz preceded Kirk’s being caught stealing and an end to the rally.
Precision Installs (27-4) could do nothing with a two-out error in the top of the fifth as Pizza Hood reliever Kordelle Phillips struck out the side.
In the fifth, Benedetti found a spot between short and third base for his second single. Alliance center fielder Konnor Fink stepped to the plate and cracked a 1-1 pitch to deep left field for a run-scoring triple. Fink tried to make it an inside-the-park homer but was gunned down on a 7-6-2 play for the second out. Columbia reliever Jacob Kleinhenz struck out the next batter to keep the score 2-0.
Again, neither team could do anything with one-out chances in the sixth inning. Phillips closed things out on 11 pitches in the seventh. A ground out back to the mound and two strikeouts gave Pizza Hood its championship to go along with the one it won in Class H (ages 9-10) two years ago.
“We never practiced hitting against so many breaking balls,” Jim Banyasz said. “They threw them consistently for strikes. In other games, we’ve been patient and waited on pitches like that.
“Also, we didn’t get the timely hits that we needed. That made it a whole different story to the final outcome. Again, our defense made some great plays. I’m very proud of our team and how hard they played today and all season long.”
Winning pitcher Kirk was named most valuable player for the Class G Final Four as he had two nice outings and helped his cause with some timely hitting.
Contact Jerry Henson at 329-7207 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Columbia Alliance
 ab r h bi  ab r h bi
Severo 3 0 0 0 Kirk 3 0 1 1
Boey 3 0 0 0 Haney 3 0 1 0
Banyasz 3 0 0 0 Phillips 3 0 0 0
Kleinhenz 2 0 0 0  Kukura 3 0 0 0
Nagle 2 0 1 0 Cannon 2 0 1 0
Cordell 2 0 1 0 Walker 2 0 0 0
Gibson 1 0 0 0 Mason 2 0 0 0
Karlovec 2 0 0 0 Williamson 0 0 0 0
Loub 1 0 0 0 Benedetti 2 2 2 0
Verbus 3 0 0 0 Fink 1 0 1 1
Bene 3 0 1 0 Skidmore 1 0 0 0
Totals 25 0 3 0 Totals 22 2 6 2
Columbia 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
Alliance 001 010 x — 2 6 2
2B: Cannon. 3B: Fink. LOB: Columbia 6, Alliance 3. SB: Kleinhenz, Benedetti.
Banyasz (L) 4 3 1 1 0 2
Kleinhenzl 2 3 1 1 1 1 
Kirk (W) 4 3 0 0 1 5
Phillips (SAVE) 3 0 0 0 0 7
WP: Kirk. PB: Walker. HBP, by Phillips (Kleinhenz).

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