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Tigers stun Knights in sectional final

By MICHAEL LEONARD Sports Editor Published: May 17, 2017 12:00 AM
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MACEDONIA -- Twinsburg and Nordonia baseball don't need any extra incentive when they play each other.

However, given that the two teams met May 13 at Summa Health Fields with a trip to districts on the line, the Knights and Tigers were more hyped to play each other than usual.

Fifth-seeded Twinsburg took advantage of its scoring opportunities, as the Tigers overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the fourth-seeded Knights 6-3 in a Division I sectional final game.

Twinsburg improved to 17-10 on the season and advanced to the Division I district semifinal May 18 at 4 p.m. at The Ballpark at Hudson.

Twinsburg will face top-seeded Solon in the district semifinal after the Comets defeated Bedford 10-0 May 12.

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Nordonia ended its season at 15-10.

Both coaches indicated errors played a major part in the game.

"When you bring two quality baseball teams together and they both have a tendency to battle, this is what happens," Twinsburg coach Don Jones said. "It's the war of attrition, baby."

"The game came down to the second and third innings," said Nordonia coach Drew Hoisington. "We were able to jump out and get two runs in the first. Then we went one, two, three, one, two, three. You can't leave the door open for a team like that to get back in the game."

Hoisington noted the game was similar to Nordonia's first game of the year vs. Twinsburg, which saw the Knights score early against Tigers' ace Ryan Christy before losing 4-3.

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In the bottom of the first inning, Nordonia pitcher Daniel Heiser walked and shortstop Trey Crockett bunted. Christy attempted to throw out Heiser at second, but threw the ball away, putting runners on second and third.

Nordonia second baseman Mason Mimms came through with a two-run single to make it 2-0.

Christy (7-0) calmed down after the first. He pitched a complete game, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

"Ryan was phenomenal today," Jones said. "He dug in when we needed him to."

Meanwhile, Heiser was in control until the top of the fourth inning.

Christy led off with a single, followed by a single by Tyler Gairing and an RBI single off the second baseman's glove by first baseman Jake Carinci.

After a wild pitch moved the runners up, third baseman Dylan Jackson came through with a two-run single to make it 3-2.

Nordonia would respond in the bottom of the fourth.

Mimms led off with a double and scored when Nathan O'Donnell reached base on a throwing error to make it 3-3.

Nordonia's bats cooled off in the late innings, however, as Christy retired the final eight Knights that he faced.

Meanwhile, Hoisington lifted Heiser in the top of the fifth and sent Kyle Seither (4-2) to the mound.

"Dan fought his butt off today," Hoisington said. "I played the numbers when I decided to put Kyle in. I would do it again if I had to."

Twinsburg took the lead in the top of the sixth when Nordonia's defense fell apart.

Gairing got aboard via an infield single, followed by catcher Chad Szydlowski reaching base on a dropped ball in center field.

After Jackson grounded out, left fielder Bobby Delegram hit a slicing ball which was dropped by the center fielder, allowing two runs to score.

Twinsburg played some small ball to get an insurance run in the top of the seventh.

After second baseman Jason Stahlman singled and shortstop Cristian Tejada had a bunt single, Christy put down a sacrifice bunt. A throwing error allowed Stahlman to score, making it 6-3.

Christy put the Knights out in order in the bottom of the seventh.

"I don't anticipate ever getting a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in districts with the schedule we play," Hoisington said. "They Suburban League is the toughest league in the state. You can't make mistakes. Our whole season has been a gauntlet."

Meanwhile, Twinsburg picked up a district warm-up game May 15 at St. Ignatius, but results were not available at press time.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

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