GRAFTON — Columbia Station pulled off the trifecta Sunday as three teams representing that community won Hot Stove regional championships at Reservoir Park, earning trips to the state tournament in Alliance this coming weekend.
J&J Greenhouses (Class F, ages 13-14), Precision Installs (Class G, ages 11-12) and Viccarone Heating and Cooling (Class H, ages 9-10) will make the trip to Butler-Rodman Park. In addition, Class EE teams (ages 15-16) from Vermilion and Wellington will join them in Stark County.
Zach Bican cracked a triple and had a double for undefeated J&J Greenhouses (26-0) as manager Craig Heidinger’s team came away with a 5-3 win over the Firelands Fierce. James Suvak’s double was the team’s only other extra-base hit.
“The breaks came our way when they had to,” Heidinger said. “We scored two runs in the fifth to regain the lead at 4-3 and added an insurance run in the sixth. Our kids have worked hard to get to this point. Our pitchers (Bican and Joe Weber) also kept us in this game.”
Connor Jenny added three singles for the winners, while Weber and Scott Bartko had two singles apiece.
“This was a hard game to lose,” said Fierce manager Rod Deichler said, whose team ends its season 20-4 and with all four of its losses coming against J&J. “We have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Darren Nibert had a triple and Bransyn Klingshirn and Kyle Smith had doubles for Firelands, while Nick Deichler added two singles.
Precision Installs trailed Valley City Miller Farms 3-2 after four innings before manager Jim Banyasz’ team sent 14 batters to the plate in the top of the fifth. As a result, Precision Installs scored nine runs to grab an 11-3 lead en route to its 11-8 win.
“Our boys came through with a solid effort,” Banyasz said. “We beat a very good team that had beaten us twice before this season. Our boys are hard workers. They practice as much at home with their parents as they do at team practices. That extra work is beginning to show.”
Jay Banyasz smacked two doubles for Precision Installs (22-3), while John Cordell and Jacob Kleinhenz each had two singles.
“That one bad inning cost us,” said Valley City manager Jeff Miller, whose team suffered its first loss against 25 wins. “I changed pitchers and our reliever couldn’t get dialed in. This definitely was the wrong place to lose.”
Devin Cunningham had a triple for Valley City and Eli Kraus had two doubles.
Viccarone will carry a 17-7 record to Alliance after it posted a 14-2 mercy-rule victory over the Medina Blaze.
D.J. Malin hit a three-run homer for the winners. Vince Tremont added a double, while Tremont, Jake Viccarone and Jesse Lambert combined for 10 singles.
“We came to hit and did,” said winning manager Gino Viccarone. “We’ve worked hard all season. Our pitching was very good in this game. And we played solid defensively with no errors and a couple of double plays.”
Vermilion Aramys will be no stranger in Alliance as manager Dwayne Jarrell and his team defeated the Avon Lake Shoremen 9-3 to win one of the two Class EE championships.
“We’ve made it to Alliance three straight years,” Jarrell said. “All that we have from those appearances is memories. We want to bring home some hardware. We were focused in this game. Now we want to take it all.”
Aramys (23-1) southpaw Anthony LaBondano had Shoremen batters looking at fastballs in the range of 85-90 mph. He finished with 12 strikeouts as he threw his second two-hitter of the season.
“I knew Anthony would be hard to beat if he threw strikes,” Jarrell said. “He’s 8-0 this season with three no-hitters, three one-hitters and now two two-hitters. He’s the real deal and hard to touch when he’s on.”
Catcher Madison Montgomery had three doubles to lead the Aramys offense.
“We knew that we’d have to play a nearly perfect game to win,” Avon Lake (16-4) coach Todd Thompson said. “We have nothing to be ashamed of. We couldn’t get the hits when we needed them.”
Jamie Kauffman had a double for the Shoremen. Shortstop Alex Woisnet made two unassisted double plays and snared hard line drive at second base to save what could have been big trouble for Avon Lake.
Steve Spangenberg singled home Robert Shays with the winning run with one out in the top of the eighth inning to give Wellington Hydro Tube a 4-3 win over the Valley City Buckeye Bucks in the other Class EE title game.
“This is a big-time win for us,” Hydro Tube (21-3) manager Doug Broadwater said. “We came through at the right time.”
Darren Gardner added three singles, while Devin Broadwater had two singles for Wellington. Winning pitcher John Willis finished with 12 strikeouts.
In Class E (ages 16-18), no area teams made it to state, all bowing out Saturday in regional play in North Akron.
Vermilion lost 16-4 to Louisville, while Spencer Tire fell 13-1 to the North Akron Tigers and Grafton was a 5-4 loser to the Timken Cougars.
All Games Saturday at Butler-Rodman Park in Alliance
Class H (ages 9-10), Field #4
Columbia Viccarone vs. Lake Twins, 1:30 p.m.
Baseball Academy vs. Brimfield Tall. Asphalt, 10:30 a.m.
FINAL: Sunday, noon
Class G (11-12), Field #3
Columbia Precision Installs vs. W. Pol. Contracting, 11 a.m.
Alliance Pizza Hood vs. Champion Indians, 2 p.m.
FINAL: Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
Class F (13-14), Field #2
Columbia J&J Greenhouses vs. Coventry Comets, 11:30 a.m.
Rices Nursery vs. Maplewood Rockets, 2:30 p.m.
FINAL: Sunday, noon
Class FF (15-16), Field #1
Vermilion Aramys vs. Alliance Dante Club, 5 p.m.
Wellington Hydro Tube vs. Louisville Leopards, 2 p.m.
FINAL: Sunday, 2 p.m.
Class E (16-18), Field #1
Massillon vs. N. Akron Tigers, 9 a.m.
Waterloo vs. Kenmore, 11:30 a.m.
FINAL: Sunday, 11:30 a.m.