CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — One quick rally decided the district championship.
The top-seeded Minford baseball team claimed six of its seven hits in the sixth inning on Wednesday night, breaking the scoreless tie and claiming its third consecutive Division III district title by a 4-0 count over 13th-seeded Meigs.
The Marauders (16-9) made on base in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but were stranded at second in each frame.
Minford (23-2-1) — which hasn’t lost since April 3 — made it to base just once in the first five frames, a fourth-inning single. Cole Borland led off the bottom of the sixth with a single for the Falcons, and then after stealing second, he scored the game’s first run on a one-out double from Grant Wheeler.
Still with one out in the inning, an RBI single by Adam Crank and a two-run single by Aodhan Queen gave the Falcons their 4-0 lead.
Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis was the winning pitcher of record with 14 strikeouts and one walk in a complete game shut out. Ethan Stewart took the pitching loss in a complete game for Meigs, striking out eight and walking none.
Andrew Dodson led the Marauders at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. Tyler Tillis and Caleb Burnem added a single apiece for the Maroon and Gold.
Crank was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI to lead the Falcons. Vogelsong-Lewis and Wheeler both doubled once and scored once, with Wheeler also earning an RBI. Borland, Queen and Matthew Risner had a single apiece, with two RBIs from Queen and a run scored by Borland.
Following the season-ending setback, Marauders head coach Jeff Wayland talked about the pitching duel, as well as what led his team to eight straight wins headed into Wednesday’s contest.
“Ethan throws strikes, their guy throws strikes, it was a quick ballgame, they just got on to him a little in the sixth inning,” Wayland said. “Our guys have played hard all year long, I’m very proud of them. Good luck to Minford, they’re a very good ball club, and hopefully they represent the Southeast District in a good fashion as they move on.
“I just can’t say enough about our kids, great kids. We started playing better, we had some timely hitting, good defense and good pitching. When you get the combination of that, you’re going to win a lot of ball games.”
The Falcons will face Wheelersburg in the Region 11 semifinal on June 3 at VA Memorial Stadium. MHS claimed victories of 6-2 and 3-0 over the Pirates in the regular season.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.