Rain stopped falling long enough for the baseball and softball fields in the area to dry out and allow the Central District baseball and softball tournament teams to finally play games that were originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 14.
Jonathan Alder 5,
Visiting Amanda-Clearcreek had something potentially big going in the sixth inning of its Division II district tournament game with host No. 2 seed Jonathan Alder on Friday, May 16.
The Aces had already plated two runs, had bases loaded and looked poised to make a 5+2 game really interesting. But the Pioneers came up with a game-changing play. Starting pitcher Tanner Gaerke and third baseman Scott Peters executed a perfectly timed pick-off play off of third base which erased a runner and gave Alder a much needed out. Gaerke proceeded to get the next two batters and the Pioneers were on their way to a 5-2 victory.
“They created an inning by getting their leadoff guys on, I told them we had to steal an out either with the pitcher or by picking somebody off,” Alder coach Craig Kyle said. “We work on that kind of stuff all the time, the timed pick offs which are called from the dugout and it worked perfectly.”
Alder scored early when Luke Nees delivered a two-run first inning double and Casey Graber executed a second-inning squeeze play to stake the home team to a 3-0 lead early.
“In high school base a majority of the time the team that scores first wins,” Kyle said. “I don’t know why that is. We like to play for that one run in the first inning if we get more that’s great. We got a couple and that was huge. I think we settled down after those.”
With the win Alder advances to a D-II district semifinal at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20 against No. 10 Big Walnut at St. Francis DeSales.
“These guys are focused, they’ve been ready to play for three days,” Kyle said. “I told them if you can’t get motivated to play a tournament game, with the program we have and what we’ve been able to accomplish and the goals we have. I told them it was all on them to be ready and they are. I could see it in their eyes they’re ready to go.”
Gaerke went the distance on the hill, picking up the win for Alder.
West Jefferson 17,
The No. 6 Roughriders (16-8) won a run-rule shortened contest against visiting Centerburg which propelled them into a D-III district semifinal where they’ll meet a familiar set of faces.
West Jeff will tangle with No. 1 seed Columbus Academy at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 19, at DeSales. Both the Roughriders and Vikings are members of the Mid-State League Ohio Division and split their regular season matchups. West Jeff won the first game 7-2 and Academy needed a late-game error to win the second contest 7-6.
The winner of the semifinal will advance to the D-III district championship game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21 at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
The Red Raiders gave their best effort, but in the end it was not enough to knock off host Lakewood in a D-II district tournament game played at Lakewood on Friday, May 16.
London coach Jason Barber gave the ball to ace Zac Carey and hoped the right-handed hurler could get the Raiders the upset. The Bowling Green State University-bound Carey surrendered nine hits, allowed two earned runs, but he and his teammates couldn’t muster enough offense.
London only had three hits, one of which came from Carey, who ended up scoring on a hit by Roger Pack. The team’s only other hit came off the bat of Justin Long.
Lakewood’s Josh Jarvis struck out 11 Red Raiders in the win. With the win the Lancers advance to a D-II district semifinal.
Newark Catholic 10,
Shekinah Christian 0
The Flames (7-17) had their season come to an end with a 10-0 loss to the top-seeded team in Division IV on Friday, May 16.
Newark Catholic limited Shekinah to a mere hit, which came off of the bat of junior Mitchell Yoder.
Trent Helmuth started the game for the Flames on the mound, but allowed five runs on eight hits in just 2 1/3 innings. Zach Webb came into the game but he couldn’t do much to slow the Green Wave (15-7). Webb surrendered five runs (two earned) in 3 1/3 innings of work.
West Jefferson 11,
West Jefferson, the No. 2 seed, had little trouble in knocking off visiting No. 13 Elgin on Friday, May 16, 11-0.
The Roughriders got a home run from Emily Stevenson and a strong pitching performance from Annie Haenszel, who allowed just two hits.
West Jeff advances to a D-III district semifinal where it will meet No. 6 Cardington-Lincoln at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 19, at Pickerington Central.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.