Sunday, June 24, 2018 Elyria 73°


Hot Stove: Keystone Wildcats cruise to Class F regional title, end state tournament drought

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    Keystone Wildcats pitcher Dillon Belknap helped hold the Sheffield Venom to just one hit in a Hot Stove Class F regional final at Wellington Community Park on Sunday. The Wildcats won 16-3 to advance to the state tournament in Alliance.


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    Keystone's Deghan Rigda connects for a base hit against the Sheffield Venom in the third inning of the class F regional Hot Stove baseball tournament game Sunday afternoon at Wellington Community Park.


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    Sheffield Venom's Anthony Grasso connects for a base hit against the Keystone Wildcats in the bottom of the third inning of the class F regional Hot Stove baseball tournament game Sunday afternoon at Wellington Community Park.


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    Sheffield Venom left fielder Billy Liggitt makes the throw the third base against the Keystone Wildcats in the second inning of the class F regional Hot Stove baseball tournament game Sunday afternoon at Wellington Community Park.



WELLINGTON — After playing a tight game in a Hot Stove regional semifinal Saturday, the Keystone Wildcats made sure they didn’t have to sweat out the final.

Keystone rolled over the Sheffield Venom 16-3 Sunday at Wellington Community Park to win the Class F (ages 13-14) title and advance to Saturday’s state semifinals in Alliance for the first time in four years.

The Wildcats had 12 hits, while holding the Venom to just a single base hit.

Rocky Houston, the winning pitcher in relief Saturday, caused all kinds of problems at the plate for Sheffield on Sunday with a pair of doubles, a triple and four RBIs.

Starting pitcher Dillon Belknap (double), Kevin Koepp and Nick Millsop (double) each added a pair of hits in the win for Keystone.

“I thought we could come in and win, but I’m a little surprised it was a one-sided game,” Belknap said. “Getting out of that first inning with the bases loaded really helped pick me up for the rest of the game.”

Belknap put himself in that jam by hitting Kane Presser and Mason Bosser and walking John Grasso with just one out.

But he got himself out of it, too, with a pair of strikeouts. From that point on it was all Keystone.

The Wildcats blew the game open with five runs in the second inning and six in the fourth.

Houston had the big hit in the second with the first of his two doubles to drive in a pair. Twelve batters went to the plate in the fourth as Houston drove in two more to go with run-scoring hits from Eric Rishel and Koepp. Nick Millsop drove in the final run with a groundout.

“We wanted to jump out and get some early runs to put the pressure on the other team,” Wildcats coach Rocky Houston said. “I didn’t know that we threw a one-hitter. It’s an unbelievable accomplishment and something that those two (Belknap and Houston) will remember for a long time.”

Brill helps Firelands win

Zack Brill was dominant in relief for the Firelands Firehawks as they advanced to state in Class F with a 4-2 win over Buckeye Marks Construction.

Brill went the final 4 2/3 innings, striking our 10 to get the win. He also helped himself with a huge hit in the bottom of the sixth inning to drive in the go-ahead run.

The Firehawks picked up two runs early as Keegan Bibb singled and scored in the second and Brill singled and came home on Tyler Mullins’ single for a 2-1 in the fourth.

Buckeye tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on a Bryce Layton double, but the inning ended with a pair of Buckeye runners on base when Layton was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Zack Hales to keep the score tied at 2.

Michael Kelley started the Firelands sevemth with a single and came home on Brill’s hit up the middle. Brill made it to third and came home with a huge insurance run on Bibb’s long foul ball. Brill made a heads up play, tagging up despite the ball being foul down the left-field line.

“This is so exciting because we haven’t been to state in a really long time,” said Brill, who threw a complete game with 16 strikeouts against Buckeye earlier this season. “After giving up that run (in the sixth) I just had to try and keep my composure and let my defense make the plays for me.”

Four straight for Wellington

Wellington AC Outlaws found their offense just when it looked like Sunday’s Class H (9-10) championship game against Cloverleaf might be a pitchers duel.

The Outlaws (23-0) scored only one run off Colts starter Kyle Hlucky in the first two innings, but erupted for 18 over the next two for a 19-3 win and a fourth straight trip to state.

They’ll bee looking for their first state title.

“We lost in the state title game last year and hopefully we’ll be a little stronger this year to finally bring home that state championship,” Wellington coach Dan Davison said.

Jarrett Biddingger and Riley Reyna provided the biggest hits for the Outlaws with Biddinger crushing a pair of home runs and Reyna hitting one.

Biddingger finished going 3-for-4 with five RBIs and three runs scored. Reyna also had three hits with four RBIs and three runs.

“Those two (Biddingger and Reyna) have been hitting the ball like that for us all year long,” Davison said. “We’ve been able to hit the ball well all year long, but our pitching and defense have been there for us too.”

Reyna went the first four innings to earn the win, allowing three runs on just three hits. He struck out six and walked two. Biddinger pitched final inning and had a pair of strikeouts.

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or

Class F Regional Finals

Keystone Wildcats 16, Sheffield Venom 3

Keystone 151 63 — 16 12 2

Sheffield  001 02 —    3 1 2

PITCHING: (K) Dillon Belknap (W) IP-32⁄3, R-1, H-1, BB-3, K-8, Rocky Houston IP-11⁄3, R-2, H-0, BB-3, K-1; (S) Josh Smith (L) IP-12⁄3, R-6, H-4, BB-1, K-1, Brendan Motram IP-11⁄3, R-5, H-2, BB-3, K-3, John Grasso IP-11⁄3, R-2, H-2, BB-3, K-0, Alex Brown IP-1, R-3, H-1, BB-1, K-1.

HITTING: (K) Rocky Houston 3 (2 2B, 3B, 4 RBIs), Dillon Belknap 2 (2B), Kevin Koepp 2 (2 R), Nick Millsop 2 (2B), Seth Cogar (3 R), Eric Rishel (3 R).

Firelands Firehawks 4, Buckeye Marks Construction 2

Buckeye 010 001 0 — 2 5 1

Firelands 010 102 X — 4 6 0

PITCHING: (F) Michael Kelley IP-21⁄3, R-1, H-3, BB-3, K-2, Zack Brill (W) IP-42⁄3, R-1, H-2, BB-2, K-10; (B) Layton Bryce (L) IP-51⁄3, R4, H-6, BB-1, K-7, Jayson Naylor

IP- 2⁄3, R-0, H-0, BB-0, K-0.

HITTING: (F) Zack Brill 2 (2R); (B) Logan Graham (2B), Bryce Layton (2B).

Class G Regional Final

Wellington AC Outlaws 19, Cloverleaf Colts 3

Cloverleaf  000     30 — 3 3 1

Wellington 01(10) 8X — 19 12 3

PITCHING: (W) Riley Reyna (W) IP-4, R-3, H-3, BB-2,

K-6, Jarrett Biddinger IP-1, R-0, H-0, BB-0, K-2. (C) Kyle Hlucky (L) IP-21⁄3, R-6, H-4, BB-3, K-2, Nolan Hartsel IP-0, R-3, H-0, BB-3, K-0, Jim Yagersz IP-2⁄3 R-6, H-5, BB-2, K-0, Rhett McMullen IP 1, R-4, H-2, BB-1, K-0.

HITTING: (W) Riley Reyna 3 (HR, 4 RBIs, 3 R), Jarrett Biddinger 3 (2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R), Wayde Bowman 2 (3B), Josh Buck (3B), Ethan Bias (2B).

Regional Championship Scores

All winners advance to state tournament in Alliance on Saturday and Sunday

Class I (ages 7-8)

Medina Swarm Black, 14, Keystone Taylor’s Trees 9

Wellington Grossman Insurance 9, Medina Swarm Gold 0

O. Falls Bulldogs Blue 10, Vermilion 7

Class HH (9)

Buckeye Tonio’s Pizza 9, Amherst RJ Perritt 8

Class H (9-10)

Amherst Panthers 10, Medina Swarm Black 0

Buckeye Ross 10, Wellington Snap-On 1

Class GG (11)

N. Ridgeville Rebels 11, Keystone Do It Best Hardware 0

S. Amherst/Firelands 11, Buckeye AC 1

Class G (11-12)

Wellington AC Outlaws 19, Cloverleaf 3

N. Ridgeville Vultures 11, Medina Swarm Green 1

Class F (13-14)

Keystone Wildcats 16, Sheffield Venom 4

Sheffield Griffith Paving 12, N. Ridgeville Rangers 11

Firelands Firehawks 4, Buckeye Marks Construction 2

Class EE (15-16)

Sheffield Venom 5, Amherst Milde 4

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