New Lexington wins Sectional semifinal over MT


By Chris Hoppes - [email protected]



Conner Bucher (7) is greeted by teammate Gabe Campagna (24) and surrounded by teammates after he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning of a Division II Sectional semifinal game against New Lexington Monday, May 16, 2022 at Miami Trace High School. Also pictured at left is Zach Warnock and at right, Ashton Connell.

Conner Bucher (7) is greeted by teammate Gabe Campagna (24) and surrounded by teammates after he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning of a Division II Sectional semifinal game against New Lexington Monday, May 16, 2022 at Miami Trace High School. Also pictured at left is Zach Warnock and at right, Ashton Connell.


Chris Hoppes | Record-Herald

Wes May delivers a pitch to the plate for Miami Trace during a Division II Sectional semifinal game against New Lexington Monday, May 16, 2022 at Miami Trace High School.


Chris Hoppes | Record-Herald

The varsity baseball team from New Lexington High School made the trip down to Miami Trace High School for the opening round of the Division II Sectional tournament Monday, May 16.

On a mostly sunny afternoon, with temperatures in the low 70’s, it was the visiting Panthers, clad in orange and black, the No. 13 seed, taking on the local Panthers, who were the No. 4 seed.

New Lexington got a nearly complete game pitching performance from starter Isaac McGill and upset Miami Trace, 10-3.

New Lexington (8-13) will visit Washington High School for a Sectional championship game Wednesday at 5 p.m.

The Blue Lions improved to 15-5 with a 7-5 win over the visiting McClain Tigers Monday.

McGill pitched 6.2 innings for New Lexington, with five hits and three runs (all earned) with three walks and 12 strikeouts. He hit one batter.

Hunter Kelogg pitched the final one-third of an inning for New Lexington.

Wes May started on the mound for Miami Trace. He worked four innings with nine hits and five runs (three earned) with two walks and nine strikeouts, suffering the loss.

Gaige Stuckey pitched 2.1 innings for Miami Trace, with two hits, four runs (two earned), three walks and two strikeouts..

Conner Bucher pitched the final two-thirds of an inning for the Panthers, striking out two with one unearned run.

Bucher was the leading hitter for Miami Trace, going 2 for 2 with a two-run home run and two runs scored. He walked once.

Austin Boedeker was 1 for 3 with one run scored; Kaden Tyler went 1 for 3 with a walk and one RBI; Cole Little went 1 for 3 and Dillon Hyer drew one walk.

McGill helped himself at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two RBI and one run scored.

Tatem Toth was 2 for 3 with a home run, three runs scored and one RBI; Mason Pyle went 2 for 4 with two RBI; Jerrick Braglin had one hit, scored twice and drove in one; Joe Stinson went 1 for 3.

New Lexington left eight runners on base and Miami Trace stranded six.

Both teams threatened to score in the first inning, with New Lexington leaving runners at second and third and Miami Trace leaving runners on the corners.

The lead-off batter in the top of the second hit a single, but was thrown out leading too far off of first, May to Cole Little, who applied the tag.

Miami Trace went out in order in the second inning.

After the first two batters were retired in the third, Toth hit a solo home run.

There followed two singles and a walk to load the bases and another single scored two to give New Lexington a 3-0 lead.

Austin Boedeker led off the third for the Panthers with a single to right field.

Bucher followed with a home run over the fence in left field to make it a 3-2 ballgame.

A walk followed to Kaden Tyler, but the next three batters were retired.

A pair of errors, a walk an infield hit and a passed ball plated two more runs for New Lexington in the top of the fourth.

Stuckey reached on an error for Miami Trace in the bottom of the fourth, but the next two batters were retired to end the inning.

With one out in the top of the fifth, Little ranged over to the home side dugout and made a nice catch of a foul pop.

In the fifth for Miami Trace, Bucher led off and was hit by a pitch. He stole second and went to third on an error. Tyler reached on a fielder’s choice and Bucher scored to make it 5-3, New Lexington. A double play turned by New Lexington ended that turn at bat for Miami Trace.

In the top of the sixth, the first two batters walked and a double steal put them at second and third.

A single to right field put New Lexington up, 7-3.

Miami Trace got out of the inning by turning a double play.

Miami Trace was set down in order in the bottom of the sixth.

New Lexington scored three more runs in the top of the seventh on a wild pitch and a two-run single.

Bucher got a one-out infield hit and with two away, New Lexington brought in Kelogg who induced a come-backer to the mound and got the out at first.

Miami Trace head coach Rob Smith was quick to credit McGill for a well-pitched game.

“He’s pretty good,” Smith said. “I’d put him up there with anybody we’ve seen this year. The kid was good. With that kid on the mound, they’re a pretty nice ball team. They had some nice players.

“We had some chances there in the first couple of innings,” Smith said. “We’ve got to field the ball. That’s what broke the game open.” Miami Trace had four errors that led to five unearned runs.

“I’ve said it before, it doesn’t matter what the seedings are,” Smith said. “Everybody has one good pitcher.”

Smith reflected on the 2022 season for his team.

“We had two starters back and we were playing for the championship on our last league game,” Smith said. “The kids have done everything we’ve asked of them.

“I think what hurt us is, we didn’t play a lot of baseball games this year,” Smith said. “Until last week, we were averaging two games a week. I’m not saying that’s why we lost tonight. We finished 14-5 and a lot of teams would take that.”

Conner Bucher repeated as the Frontier Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Dillon Hyer and Cole Little were also named First Team, All-FAC.

“That shows a lot of respect from the other coaches in the league,” Smith said. “I would say Conner is going to go down as one of the top three or four players at Miami Trace. He had two hits tonight, which puts him at 91 or 92 hits for his career. And we didn’t have a season in 2020, so, he did that in three seasons. He’s had one of the most productive careers for a player at Miami Trace.”

The Panthers say thank you and good-bye to six seniors: Kaden Tyler, Ashton Connell, Conner Bucher, Wes May, Preston Edwards and Gabe Campagna.

“The hardest thing about coaching is the speech at the end,” Smith said. “These guys were a part of a lot of wins. They are great kids. I told them, ‘we’ll never be in a group again, ever.’ That gets tougher to take the older I get. These kids have given their all to the program over the years.”

RHE

NL 003 202 3 — 10 11 2

MT 002 010 0 — 3 5 4

Conner Bucher (7) is greeted by teammate Gabe Campagna (24) and surrounded by teammates after he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning of a Division II Sectional semifinal game against New Lexington Monday, May 16, 2022 at Miami Trace High School. Also pictured at left is Zach Warnock and at right, Ashton Connell.
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2022/05/web1_Conner-Bucher-home-run-reaction-5-16-2022.jpgConner Bucher (7) is greeted by teammate Gabe Campagna (24) and surrounded by teammates after he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning of a Division II Sectional semifinal game against New Lexington Monday, May 16, 2022 at Miami Trace High School. Also pictured at left is Zach Warnock and at right, Ashton Connell. Chris Hoppes | Record-Herald

Wes May delivers a pitch to the plate for Miami Trace during a Division II Sectional semifinal game against New Lexington Monday, May 16, 2022 at Miami Trace High School.
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2022/05/web1_Wes-May-vs-New-Lexington-5-16-2022.jpgWes May delivers a pitch to the plate for Miami Trace during a Division II Sectional semifinal game against New Lexington Monday, May 16, 2022 at Miami Trace High School. Chris Hoppes | Record-Herald

By Chris Hoppes

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