November 26, 2014

Elyria
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Big plays land Elyria in final

FREMONT — Elyria Post 12 used up every bit of luck available Monday night — tying the game with an unearned run in the top of the ninth inning, fighting off a meltdown in the bottom of the inning and scoring again in the 10th to come away with a 5-4 victory over Sandusky Post 83 in the American Legion district tournament.
Trailing 4-3 with one out in the ninth, Elyria’s Mike Starkey reached first when Sandusky third baseman Michael Shepherd misplayed a ground ball, then advanced to second when Shepherd’s throw got past the first baseman. Starkey scored when Kyle Shaw hit a short liner to left-center field and Andrew Bickell couldn’t make the diving catch. The ball bounced out of Bickell’s glove.
“We made three errors in the ninth inning against a team that’s playing well,” Sandusky coach Ray Neill said. “That play in center field should have been caught — that’s a routine play. If anyone gave him a base hit, they shouldn’t have. That wasn’t a base hit. The ball was right there, he shouldn’t have dove.”
It seemed as if Elyria was still going to give the game to Sandusky when relief pitcher Travis Stephens walked a pair, threw a wild pitch, hit a batter and surrendered a single to left field in the bottom of the ninth. But it was Starkey who came up with a big play — gunning down Kyle Hallock at the plate from left field — that allowed Elyria to escape unscathed.
“We had a little bit of a rough inning,” Elyria coach Jeff Chenoweth said. “We let some guys get on for free then Mike made that big throw from left field and that kind of turned the momentum right back around to our side.”
Elyria (26-14) was fired up after the big play and showed it in the 10th inning. Kull McClurg hit a one-out single to right-center and stole second base as Nick Simonovich struck out on a controversial call. But Ryan Rua ended Elyria’s disappointment with a blast over the Sandusky left fielder’s head that scored McClurg and eventually gave Post 12 the win.
Elyria was also aided by an outfield assist from center field during the seventh inning — when Sandusky’s Joshua Lowe was gunned down at home — and had a big double play in the 10th after Daniel Doster led off with a single.
“We played a lot better defense today than we did (Sunday),” Chenoweth said. “(On Sunday) we made seven errors so it’s good to come out here (Monday) and be able to turn that around.”
Elyria took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Dominic Gentile singled down the left-field line to score a pair of runs and tied the score at 3 in the fifth off McClurg’s RBI single to center. McClurg, Rua, Grant Nagy and Nick Kennedy all had a pair of hits for Post 12.
“Give them credit, they made some great plays,” said Neill, who saw his Sandusky team end its season with a 27-13 record. “They got the big hits when they needed them and we didn’t. That’s about the story of the ballgame.”
Elyria will be back in action today at 5:30 to face host Fremont — the team that handed Post 12 its lone loss — in the district championship. Elyria will have to defeat Fremont today and again Wednesday to advance to the state tournament.
“Fremont’s going to be tough, they’re solid fundamentally,” Chenoweth said. “I think it’s going to be a good game. It could go either way. They’ve got a lot of pitching left and we still have some arms left, too. It’s going to be interesting.”

Elyria Sandusky
AB R H BI AB R H BI
Shaw 4 0 1 1 Hallock 2 1 1 0
Stephens 5 0 0 0 Shepherd 3 0 1 1
Kennedy 4 0 2 0 Duncan 5 0 3 0
McClurg 5 1 2 1 Lowe 4 0 1 1
Nagy 4 1 2 0 Boos 5 0 2 0
Rua 5 1 2 1 Doster 4 1 1 0
Gentile 5 0 1 2 Conger 5 1 1 0
Schlather 3 0 0 0 Chaffins 3 0 1 0
Allen 2 1 0 0 Bickell 4 1 1 2
Miller 0 0 0 0 Chafin 0 0 0 0
Piatt 0 0 0 0 Smith 0 0 0 0
Starkey 1 1 0 0 Enderle 2 0 0 0
Koubek 1 0 0 0 Zahel 0 0 0 0
Simonovich 1 0 0 0
Totals 40 5 10 5 Totals 37 4 12 4
Elyria 020 010 001 1 — 5 10 2
Sandusky 030 000 100 0 — 4 12 3
2B — Rua 2, Conger, Lowe. SB — Hallock, McClurg. CS — Boos. SAC — Hallock, Shaw, Shepherd. LOB — Elyria 11, Sandusky 8. DP — Elyria 1, Sandusky 1.
IP R ER H BB SO
Elyria
Miller 1 1/3 3 3 4 1 0
Piatt 5 2/3 1 1 6 1 0
Stephens (W, 7-2) 3 0 0 2 2 2
Sandusky
Chafin 4 2/3 3 3 6 2 3
Smith (L) 5 1/3 2 1 4 0 6
HBP — by Stephens (Lowe). WP — Stephens.
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or sbennett@chroniclet.com.

072407slide.jpgSTEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE
Elyria Post 12 catcher Dominic Gentile tags out Sandusky’s Kyle Hallock at the plate in the ninth inning of Monday’s American Legion district tournament game at Fremont Ross High School.