At least a share of the first Frontier Athletic Conference baseball title was on the line when the Miami Trace Panthers welcomed the Blue Lions of Washington High School to Coe Field on a mild, sunny, windy Friday afternoon and evening.
The Blue Lions broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the fifth and held on for a 3-1 win over the Panthers.
Washington is now 7-2 in the FAC with a game remaining at Greenfield against the McClain Tigers Monday. If the Blue Lions win that game, they will be outright champions.
As it stands, the Blue Lions have clinched a co-championship pending Monday’s games.
The Panthers are now 6-3 in the FAC with a home game against Jackson Monday to close out conference play.
There was very good pitching from both starters.
Nick Barrett started for Washington and got the win.
He pitched seven innings with four hits, one run (earned), 10 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batsman.
Darby Tyree went the distance on the hill for the Panthers, suffering the loss.
He allowed six hits and three runs (none earned) with eight strikeouts and three walks.
“We can’t seem to play a league game that doesn’t come down to the last inning,” Washington head coach Mark Schwartz said. “Hats off to Miami Trace and Coach Smith. They played a great game.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” Schwartz said. “We’ve been working hard all winter and spring and now, here we are, co-champs.
“The last two games, Nick Barrett has pitched lights out,” Schwartz said. “I’m proud of the guys. It was a team effort tonight.”
“They capitalized on a mistake that we made,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Smith said. “Then they had a couple of hits after that.
“We had a couple of opportunities,” Smith said. “It came down to little, fundamental stuff. It was a great high school baseball game. The difference in a high school baseball game can be minute sometimes when two good teams are playing. Basically, that’s what it came down to today.
“Both pitchers pitched a great game,” Smith said. “He had us fooled. We sat there and looked at at least six called third strikes today. You can’t win a ball game unless you put the ball in play. Barrett made the pitches when he had to and that’s all you can ask from your pitcher.
“We made some good plays,” Smith said. “We turned a double play there. It was a great game. You’re disappointed when you are on the losing side.”
All the scoring came in the fifth inning.
In the top of the fifth, with one out, Bailey Roberts walked. Grant Patterson was brought in as a pinch-runner.
Eli Lynch hit a double to center, with Patterson stopping at third.
The next batter struck out, bringing Eli Ruth to the plate.
Ruth reached on an error that allowed Patterson to score and Lynch to go to third.
Tyler Rood then smacked a double, scoring Lynch and Ruth.
The next batter struck out to end that rally.
In the bottom of the fifth, Dalton Mayer was hit by a pitch to lead off.
With one out, Mayer stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.
A ground ball was hit on the infield. Mayer attempted to score, but was thrown out, Austinn Fore to Ryan Schwartz.
Brady Wallace then hit a single that scored Austin Mathews, who reached on the previous fielder’s choice.
The Blue Lions got a runner over to second base in the top of the sixth, but did not score.
The Panthers left a runner stranded at first in the bottom of the sixth.
The Blue Lions stranded another runner in the top of the seventh.
The Panthers had a batter reach on an error to start the bottom of the seventh.
After a strikeout, another batter got on by a Washington error.
The next Panther batter bunted. Barrett fielded and quickly turned and threw to third for the force out.
Barrett struck out the next Panther batter to end the game.
The Blue Lions (11-2 overall) are at Goshen for a doubleheader Saturday. As previously noted, Washington is at Greenfield’s Mitchell Park to take on the Tigers Monday and will be home for Senior Night against Xenia Wednesday.
Miami Trace is having its prom Saturday and will be back in action at home Monday against Jackson.
The Division II tournament pairings will be announced Sunday.
Offensively for Washington: George Reno, 0-4, roe; Eli Ruth, 0-4, 1 run, roe; Tyler Rood, 2-4, 2 rbi, 1 2b; Kenny Arboleda, 0-3, 1 bb; Nick Barrett, 2-2, 1 3b; Austinn Fore, 0-1, hbp; Ryan Schwartz, 0-3, fc; Bailey Roberts, 0-1, roe; Grant Patterson, 0-0, 1 run, 1 bb; Eli Lynch, 2-3, 1 run, 1 2b. LOB: 7.
Offensively for Miami Trace: Brady Wallace, 2-4, 1 rbi, 1 sb, fc; Drew Batson, 0-4; Josh Gilmore, 0-3; Heath Cockerill, 1-3; Cody Brightman, 1-3, 1 sb, fc; Austin Brown, 0-3; Dalton Mayer, 0-2, 1 sb, roe, hbp; Tyler Eggleton, 0-2; James Munro, 0-1; Austin Mathews, 0-2, 1 run, 1 bb, 1 sb, fc. LOB: 7.
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