THE PLAINS — Following the Washington versus Marietta game, the Miami Trace Panthers took the field at Athens High School to challenge the Unioto Sherman Tanks in a Division II District semifinal game Monday, May 15.
Like the first game of the day, this game was played close to the vest.
It came down to just a couple of plays, here and there, as the Shermans came away with a 2-0 win.
The Panthers end the 2017 season with a record of 16-7.
Unioto scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the first inning.
They added an insurance run in the top of the sixth.
Miami Trace had two infield hits in the game off the top pitcher in the Scioto Valley Conference, Harley Patterson.
Patterson struck out 14 and walked four.
Junior Darby Tyree started for the Panthers and pitched seven inning, sustaining the loss.
He allowed two runs on eight hits. He walked three and struck out seven.
“I wish he hadn’t moved from Miami Trace years ago,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Smith said of Patterson. “We faced a good pitcher and they faced a good pitcher. Darby pitched a heck of a ball game. A few seeing-eye hits were the difference in the ball game. It was a good pitcher’s duel with two good baseball teams going at it.
“You can still play a pretty good game, defensively, but, if you don’t score when you have the opportunity, you’re on the short end,” Smith said. “I’m proud of my kids. (Patterson) had 86 strikeouts tonight coming in, so, we knew he was a pretty good pitcher.
“They’re a well-coached team,” Smith said of Unioto. “Hat’s off to Unioto. Their coach (Tony Taylor) is one of my best friends. We played baseball in college. He’s very knowledgeable.”
Smith was asked about the triple play and if any of his teams had ever turned one before.
“They never have,” Smith said. “In my opinion, we have the best defensive center fielder in southern Ohio (Wallace). When Brady is focused, he makes plays like that. He made a great play. That’s what you need in games like this.
“Even in the seventh, they could have added some insurance and we turned a nice double play,” Smith said. “I’ve been around long enough to know you win some of these types of games and you lose some. That’s just how baseball is.”
In the top of the first for Unioto, Nate Keiser dumped a one-out single into right.
Casey White followed with a bad-hop single that bounced over Hunter Moore at third base.
Gavin Ogan hit a double to left-center, scoring Kesier.
Tyree struck out the next two batters to finish the inning.
In the first, Brady Wallace walked and went to second on a wild pitch.
After a walk to Skyler McDonald, the Panthers pulled a double steal. However, the next batter struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the second, Jacob Batson had an infield hit. After two batters were struck out, Batson was caught stealing.
In the bottom of the third, Hunter Moore had an infield hit. He went to second on a passed ball.
Josh Morton struck out, but when the ball eluded the catcher, he was able to reach first safely.
A sacrifice fly by Wallace moved Moore to third, but the next two batters were retired, squelching that threat.
The Panthers were soon about to turn their first triple play in perhaps a very long time.
Patterson reached safely and Nick Ooten reached on an error.
Ryan Burns had an infield hit and Hayden Longcoy lined a shot into right-center.
Wallace raced over and made a diving catch.
He quickly threw to McDonald at first base to double off the runner there and, seeing the runner from third was three-fourths of the way to home, he threw to Moore at third for the very rare triple play (8-3-5).
“I was pretty confident in that,” Wallace said. “I’ve made those plays a lot so far in my high school career. I always give my all for my pitchers. I do what I can. I just got up and threw the ball in and got the out. You always have to be thinking about what you’re going to do next.
“Their pitcher had a pretty good arm,” Wallace said. “I don’t think we choked up enough on the bat. We were just up there taking big cuts.”
In the top of the fifth, Panther catcher Mitchell Creamer threw out Clay Edler, who had walked.
In the sixth, Ryan Siegler singled and later scored on a double by Ryan Burns.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Panthers’ Trenton Harris walked and stole second.
Creamer walked, but the next batter struck out to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Unioto got a man on base and one out later, Ogan hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end that inning.
The Panthers were retired in order in the seventh, sealing the win for Unioto.
“I thought we underachieved a little bit,” Smith said, reflecting on the season. “But the kids never quit. They battled and battled and battled. When we had that three-game losing streak early in the season, it was because we made a lot of mistakes. Tonight’s loss was not because of mistakes, but because they had a couple of seeing-eye hits right where they needed to be.
“I thought our kids came a long way,” Smith said. “16-7 is still nothing to sneeze at. I’m proud of my kids.”
“We all had a great time this season,” Wallace said. “We’re going to remember this for a while.”
Miami Trace’s eight seniors are: Jacob Batson, Hunter Moore, Lance Mick, Josh Morton, Mitchell Creamer, Logan Robinson, Skyler McDonald and Trenton Harris.
The Shermans will now play Marietta for the District championship Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Ohio University.
In games played at Ohio University Monday, Warren beat Sheridan, 6-2 and Athens defeated Logan Elm, 6-3. Warren and Athens will play for a District championship Wednesday at 5 p.m.
For the Panthers, Skyler McDonald, Trenton Harris and Brady Wallace were named First Team, All-SCOL.
The Panthers did not have any Second Team, All-SCOL players this year.
Offensively for Miami Trace: Josh Morton, 0-3; Brady Wallace, 0-1, 1 bb, 1 sb, 1 sac fly; Skyler McDonald, 0-2, 1 bb, 1 sb; Trenton Harris, 0-2, 1 bb, 1 sb; Mitchell Creamer, 0-2, 1 bb; Jacob Batson, 1-3; Heath Cockerill, 0-3; Logan Robinson, 0-3; Hunter Moore, 1-3.
Offensively for Unioto: Clay Edler, 0-2, 2 bb; Nate Keiser, 2-3, 1 run, roe; Casey White, 1-4; Gavin Ogan, 1-4, 1 2b, 1 rbi; Ryan Sigler, 1-3, 1 run; Harley Patterson, 0-3; Nick Ooten, 0-2, roe; Ryan Burns, 3-3, 1 2b, 1 rbi; Hayden Longcoy, 0-1, 1 sac, 1 bb.
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Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1