NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The rematch is set in Class F of the Hot Stove state tournament.
Two weeks ago, Columbia Morgan Trucking handed South Amherst its only loss of the year in the Lorain County championship. The teams will meet again today at 5:30 at Palmer Field after South Amherst held on for a 4-2 victory over Midview Ross with both pitchers throwing complete games.
Columbia advanced after an 11-4 win over the Sheffield Hitmen.
The regional semifinal was all about the pitching as Austin Urban threw his second complete game of the year for South Amherst (20-1), scattering eight hits in seven innings. He walked six and struck out seven with a variety of pitches.
Ross (16-5) lefty Jamie Myers was the hard-luck loser, going six innings and allowing four runs — only two were earned — walking six and striking out eight.
“Jamie (Myers) is one of the best pitchers in the league,” South Amherst manager Jeff Metzger said. “We knew going in we were going to have to face him and it went just as expected. I told our kids to be ready for a tough lefty.”
The Crushers are used to scoring double-digit runs this year, but had to scratch for every run to advance to the regional championship game for the second year in a row. They reached as a Class FF team last year and eventually won the state championship.
South Amherst went up first, scoring twice in the bottom of the third when Aaron Myers tripled to start the inning and came home on a ground ball by Mike Bansek (1-for-2, 2 RBIs). Colin Ransom scored on a Noah Metzger base hit after being hit by a pitch.
Midview got one of the runs back in the fourth when Vince Birth singled and scored on a Jacob Snyder single to left-center, cutting the lead to 2-1.
South Amherst picked up a run on Bansek’s second RBI in the bottom of the fifth, but Ross once again answered with a two-out triple by Snyder (2-for-3) and a single by Kyke Farkas to keep the pressure on the Crushers.
Midview got no closer as Urban allowed a single in the seventh but got a strikeout and a come-backer to the mound to end the game.
Flashing the glove
The Grafton Gladiators had plenty of hitting in their 13-2 five-inning win over the North Ridgeville Bullfrogs in the Class H regional semifinal at Palmer Field, but it was Grafton’s pitching and defense that made the difference.
The Gladiators are one step away from advancing to the state tournament and will face the winner of Saturday night’s Buckeye Auto Select/Buckeye Halleen Kia game today at 8 p.m. at Palmer Field.
“We worked on defense for a full month before we even picked up a bat,” Gladiators coach Eric Newton said. “All of the kids know what to do with the ball when it’s hit to them. We showed that today.”
Grafton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a base hit by Ethan Weber, but North Ridgeville answered by scoring runs in each of the first two innings.
Owen Matta reached on a fielder’s choice and came home on a Dillon Meddles single to left field in the first. Conner Awad doubled to start the second and scored when he advanced to third on a wild pitch and the throw from the catcher went into the outfield.
Those were the only two runs allowed by starting pitcher Hunter Cahl, who went the first three innings for the win before Dominick Birth finished up the final two innings.
Grafton’s defense made heads-up plays in the final three innings to keep the game at the 10-run mercy rule — picking off a runner on a wild pitch in the third, tagging a runner that had made a turn to second after an infield hit and throwing out a runner after rounding second a little too far.
The Gladiators put the game away by scoring 11 times in their final three at-bats. The first two runs came home in the third on a single through the middle by Chaz Yates.
Birth, Weber and Graham Sim all drove in runs with three straight two-out doubles in the fourth. Sim and Alex Webb provided two RBIs with hits in the fifth inning to provide the margin of victory.
Buckeye Archer Trucking scored three runs in the second inning on just two hits and it proved to be enough to advance in the Hot Stove Class EE loser’s bracket with a 4-2 win over Vermilion.
Archer Trucking (4-10) will play again today against Alliance Stanley Steemer at 5 p.m. at North Akron’s Patterson Park.
Buckeye got a stellar game from Evan Walker on the mound as he went all seven innings, striking out a season-high 14 batters — including eight in the first three innings. The Sailors only reached Walker for single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
“I had all of my pitches working and was able to throw them for strikes,” Walker said. “I’m just glad we could keep winning.”
Sailors starter Nick Bray had trouble spotting his fastball in the strike zone and it cost him three runs — two earned — in the top of the second inning.
Emry Hollopeter (fielder’s choice), Jacob Motrunecs (single) and Justin Lowry (walk) all reached and scored. Hollopeter scored on an infield single by Walker, Motrunecs scored on a wild pitch and Lowry scampered home on a throwing error for a 3-0 lead.
Brandon Burton came on in relief for the Sailors and shut down Buckeye, giving his team a chance to get back in the game by cutting the lead to 3-2.
Burton doubled and scored on a Jacob Horvath single and Jacob Barnes walked and scored in the fifth on a Bryce Fisher groundout, but Vermilion could get no closer and ended the season with a 9-7 record.
“We questioned ourselves a lot about out regular-season record since we feel we are better than our record,” Archer Trucking manager Jon Bastick said. “Evan (Walker) has pitched every win for us in the tournament and today was his best game yet.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina Monsters 14, Buckeye Ross Masonry 4
North Ridgeville Auto Rama 13, Grafton GLWB 12
Medina Swarm, South Amherst/Firelands #2
Wellington Adv. Construction 15, North Olmsted BSN 5
North Olmsted MK Auto 13, Amherst Panthers 3
North Ridgeville Richards Drywall 15, Columbia JL Moore 1
Grafton Gladiators 13, North Ridgeville Bullfrogs 2
Buckeye Halleen Kia 13, Buckeye Auto Select 10
Keystone Houston, 14 Medina Vipers 3
Medina Swarm 13, Cloverleaf Colts 12
Buckeye GPM 7, Columbia Kile Construction 1
Firelands Storm 7, Medina Swarm 2
Medina Rangers 9, Sheffield Hitmen 0
Medina Sharks 5, North Akron Braves 2
South Amherst/Firelands 7, Columbia Jacobsky Plumbing 1
Columbia Morgan Trucking 11, Sheffield Hurricanes 4
South Amherst Crushers 4, Midview Ross Environmental 2
Buckeye/Litchfield Archer Trucking 4, Vermilion 2