On an overcast Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Blue Lion varsity baseball team hosted their Fayette County rivals, Miami Trace, for a Frontier Athletic Conference match-up.
Miami Trace scored one in the first, to be answered by two in the bottom of the first by Washington.
The Blue Lions added a run in the third and another in the sixth to go in front, 4-1.
However, the Panthers rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh to win the game, 6-4.
In doing so, Miami Trace kept its hopes alive for a share of the FAC title.
The Panthers are now 6-3 in the FAC with a home game Monday against Hillsboro.
Hillsboro defeated McClain Wednesday, 4-2.
The Indians and Tigers have another game remaining, but not until May 6.
McClain now has three FAC losses and Hillsboro has one with two games remaining.
Miami Trace is now 10-5 overall.
Austin Brown started and got the win for the Panthers.
He pitched 6.1 innings with seven hits and four runs (one earned). He struck out five, walked two and hit one batter.
Mason Snow came on to pitch the final two-thirds of an inning, recording the save. He struck out two and walked one.
Bailey Roberts started for Washington and pitched six innings. He faced three batters in the seventh. He allowed five hits and four runs (all earned) with five strikeouts and six walks.
Brock Morris came on in the seventh and suffered the loss. He pitched one inning with two hits and two runs (both earned) with one strikeout and one walk.
In front of a large crowd, the Panthers got on the board in the top of the first.
Connor Bucher led off with a double and Drew Batson walked.
Cody Brightman bunted for an infield hit, loading the bases.
Dalton Mayer hit into a fielder’s choice with Bucher forced at home.
After the second out was recorded, Josh Gilmore walked, forcing in Batson. The next batter struck out to end that half inning.
For Washington in the first, with out one, Karson Runk walked.
Jarred Hall singled to right field, moving Runk around to third. Hall went to second on the throw to third.
A second out was recorded, bringing Roberts to the plate. He reached on an error that allowed Runk and Hall to score.
Ryan Schwartz followed with a single, but the next batter grounded out to end the first inning.
The bottom of the third was a scoring inning for the Blue Lions.
Runk reached on an error and Hall followed, also reaching on an error, one of four by the Panthers in the game.
With runners on the corners, Hall stole second and Runk scored on an error to take a 3-1 lead.
Washington threatened to score in the fourth, as did the Panthers in the fifth.
In the game, the Blue Lions stranded 10 base runners and the Panthers left nine on base.
The Blue Lions were looking for some insurance and picked up a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Schwartz led off with a single and with one out, Tyler Tackage was hit by a pitch.
Cortez O’Flaherty grounded out, advancing the runners to second and third.
George Reno singled into right field, scoring Schwartz to make it 4-1, Washington.
The next batter was retired to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Bucher led off with a double and Batson followed with a single.
Brightman singled, scoring Bucher to make it 4-2.
At this point, Brock Morris was brought in to relieve Roberts.
Mayer drew a walk to load the bases.
Gavin Taulbee grounded out, scoring Batson to pull the Panthers to within one.
Josh Gilmore followed with a two-run single plating Brightman and Mayer and putting the Panthers into the lead, 5-4.
Luke Henry put down a sacrifice bunt, moving Gilmore to second.
Brown had a hit that scored Gilmore to set the score at 6-4, Miami Trace.
The next batter struck out to end that rally.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hall led off with a single. Tyler Rood’s fielder’s choice forced Hall at second.
Roberts walked and then the second out was recorded.
Shaw walked to load the bases, but the next batter struck out to end the game.
“We had some other opportunities to score runs tonight and we didn’t do it,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Smith said. “Our kids just found a way in the seventh inning. When they came in (to the dugout) in the seventh, they said they weren’t losing.
“It was just resiliency,” Smith said. “Court House played a great game. They took advantage of our mistakes. It looked bleak going into the seventh inning. Suddenly, our bats came back alive. I’m proud of our kids.
“Austin Brown didn’t have his best performance, but he gutted it out,” Smith said. “Mason Snow came in and got the save and did a nice job.
“I looked back and since I’ve been (at Miami Trace) every game (with Washington) has been within two runs,” Smith said. “This is my sixth year.
“You have to give their kids credit,” Smith said. “They’re playing good baseball right now. Mark’s done a nice job of coaching them and they’ve gotten better and better.”
“Bailey was strong,” Washington head coach Mark Schwartz said. “He just left a couple of pitches up and Miami Trace took advantage and got some timely hits.
“That’s a good team over there,” Schwartz said of the Panthers. “We had our chances, unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us.
“We’re not going to hang our heads,” Schwartz said. “We’re going to keep battling and get ready for the tournament coming up.”
Washington (3-13 overall, 1-8 FAC) is home against Jackson Friday at 5 p.m.
The Panthers (10-5 overall, 6-3 FAC) are at home against Hillsboro Monday at 5 p.m.
Also in the FAC Wednesday, Jackson defeated Chillicothe, 8-4.
Great catch: Miami Trace’s Braden Cooper-Smith ran a long way and made a diving catch of a ball for the Panthers in right field, the defensive play of the game.
MT 100 000 5 — 6 7 4
W 201 001 0 — 4 7 1
Offensively for Miami Trace: Connor Bucher, 2-2, 1 run, 2 bb, 2 2b; Drew Batson, 1-2, 2 runs, 2 bb; Cody Brightman, 2-4, 1 run, 1 rbi; Dalton Mayer, 0-3, 1 run, 1 bb, roe, fc; Gavin Taulbee, 0-3, 1 rbi, 1 bb; Josh Gilmore, 1-3, 1 run, 3 rbi, 1 bb; Luke Henry, 0-2, sac; Tyler Eggleton, 0-1; Austin Brown, 1-4, 1 rbi; Austin Mathews, 0-4. LOB: 9.
Offensively for Washington: George Reno, 1-4, 1 rbi, sb; Karson Runk, 0-3, 2 runs, 1 bb, roe; Jarred Hall, 2-4, 1 run, sb, roe; Tyler Rood, 0-4, fc; Bailey Roberts, 0-3, 1 bb, roe; Ryan Schwartz, 2-4, 1 run; Eli Shaw, 1-3, 1 bb; Tyler Tackage, 0-3, fc; Cortez O’Flaherty, 1-3, sb. LOB: 10.