WELLINGTON — Firelands kept its state title hopes alive in the Class FF Hot Stove playoffs with a 13-3 win over Lorain in six innings Saturday at Wellington Community Park.
The Crushers scored early with seven runs in the first three innings, and let their pitching do the rest as four Firelands pitchers combined to toss a two-hitter against the Cyclones.
Firelands will have a trip to the state tournament on the line this morning when it faces Ravenna at 11:30 in Grafton.
“Our pitchers really came through big today,” Crushers coach Jeff Metzger said. “All four of those guys have done well for us this year and we are going to need all of them if we are going to keep winning.”
Jacob Campbell picked up the win, going the first three innings without giving up a hit. He struck out four and walked two, with one of the walks getting wiped out by a double play.
“It was pretty nice getting run support early,” Campbell said. “It’s a lot easier for us to go out there and play with the lead. We really wanted to get up early on (Lorain).”
Campbell was at the heart of the seven-run offensive explosion in the second and third innings, starting the second off with a single and driving in a pair of runs in the third with a hit to left field.
Aaron Myers drove home the second run in the second with a flare double to right, and Hunter Wilbond scored two runs with a double down the right-field line for a 4-0 lead.
After Campbell’s hit in the third drove home Nick Denney and Mike Bansek, he scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Noah Metzger.
“We played Lorain before and they played us tough,” Metzger said. “We knew we had to come out and be very aggressive with our baserunning and it really helped us out in getting a lead.”
The Cyclones finally broke through with a hit in the fourth inning as Dakota Stout crushed a triple to right-center, driving in Kash Warren who had walked to start the inning against Aaron Myers. Stout scored on the backend of a double steal to cut the lead to 7-2.
Stout went to the mound and kept Lorain in the game with a pair of scoreless innings before wearing down in the sixth, as Firelands scored six runs — five with two outs — to end the game because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Austin Urban was the only Crushers player to drive in runs with a hit during the sixth inning, knocking in a pair with a double to left. The rest came home on a variety of wild pitches and fielding errors by Lorain.
“After getting down early, Dakota (Stout) really did a great job of keeping us in the game,” Cyclones coach Vincent Fries said. “We just didn’t have enough baserunners today. We tried to be patient at the plate, but it just didn’t turn into putting runners on base with hits or walks.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.