GRAFTON — It was a good day for the communities along state Route 60 during the Hot Stove regional championship games Sunday at Grafton Reservoir Park.
In Class G (U12), Vermilion DRD Wildcats defeated Buckeye MTD 13-5, in Class FF (U13) the Firelands Raptors beat Ravenna 7-1 and the Vermilion Impact cruised past Wellington 15-4 in Class H (U10).
All three will be playing in the state tournament in Alliance next Saturday.
More photos below.
“These boys have played hard all year and it was all pitching and defense today,” Impact coach Jim Wells said. “We stress playing defense and aggressiveness on the base paths. We have to play smart baseball and we stress it year round.”
Vermilion has been hitting the ball hard during its tournament run and Sunday it mixed in a nearly flawless defensive effort to go with 11 hits.
Wellington didn’t have nearly the defensive game — committing eight errors. Vermilion (24-1) seemed to cash in each time they were given extra outs.
Konnor Clark brought home the first run with a perfectly executed a squeeze bunt and Jack Wells scored the second run with a double to left-center.
Vermilion added a pair of runs in the second inning on hits by Ethan Hendrickson and Clark. Cody Schultz scored the only run of the third for the Impact with an infield single for a 5-0 Vermilion lead.
Wellington came back to score its four runs (one earned) in the bottom of the third against Impact starter Hunter Etienne.
Austin Loudermelt walked and scored on a wild pitch, Ty Moore singled and scored, Garrett Kropff drove in a run with a single to right, Jayden Skinner reached on an error and scored and Jacob Shaver walked and came home on a single by Wyatt Sasack.
“I’m glad we got runs early, because it means I don’t have to try and be perfect with all my pitches,” Etienne said. “It’s really exciting to be going back to the state tournament again.”
That was all the scoring for Wellington (25-3) as Vermilion pulled away for the 10-run mercy rule win with three runs in the fourth and seven more in the fifth.
“That is the best hitting and fielding team we have faced all year,” Wellington coach Casey Moore said. “You have to play a great game to beat them and we just made too many mistakes in the field. We gave them a lot of extra outs.”
Cole Parker provided the biggest hit for Vermilion in the fourth inning with a two-out double to right-center that scored a pair of runs.
All seven of Vermilion’s runs in the fifth inning came with two outs. Sean Saterlee, Wells, Parker and Schultz each provided run-scoring hits for the Impact. Vermilion might have scored more, but seven runs is the maximum allowed in Class H in one inning.
Jack Wells pitched the last two innings for the Impact and gave Wellington no room to mount a comeback, facing just seven batters to close out the win.
“We really work hard on our defense at every practice, so it makes it easy to pitch when we play so well,” Wells said. “We want to go to state and change what happened to us last year.”
Vermilion was bounced from the state tournament last year in the semifinals.
Vermilion DRD Wildcats 13, Buckeye MTD 5
Just a week ago, Vermilion lost to Buckeye 13-5 in the Lorain County championship game. On Sunday, the Wildcats turned the tables with an identical score to earn a trip to the state tournament in Alliance next weekend.
“That is really a great baseball team that we beat today,” Vermilion coach Kenny Clark said. “Every time we play it’s a great game and we were able to put it all together today to get the win.”
Caden Cooper started on the mound for Vermilion, going the first three innings as the Wildcats built a 6-1 lead. Casey Scroggins had a pair of run-scoring hits for the Wildcats in the early innings to go with hits by Noah Cacciatore, Jonah Pfeil and a huge triple by Carson Ehrhardt.
Buckeye scratched out a run in the third, one in the fourth and three in the fifth, but Vermilion put the game away with three runs in the sixth inning on hits by Scroggins and Pfeil.
S. Amherst/Firelands 7, Ravenna 1
The third time was the charm for Firelands as it finally earned a trip to the state tournament with a 7-1 win over Ravenna in the regional final.
Firelands dominated the Raptors with overpowering pitching. Jacob Campbell picked up the win going three scoreless innings, Austin Urban gave up the only run during his one inning and Nick Denney went the last three innings to close out the victory.
“The pitchers all came up big for us today,” Firelands coach Jeff Metzger said. “We have a lot of pitching on this team and that’s one of the main reasons we are where we are today.”
Firelands gave its pitchers plenty of offense early, scoring a pair of runs in each of the first three innings. Nick Denny and Michael Bansek reached and scored in the first, Denny scored Colin Ransom and Jacob Reisling with a triple in the second and Aaron Myers scored Bansek and Campbell with a base hit in the third.
Ravenna scored its run in the fourth inning, but Denney shut the door with four strikeouts in the final two innings.
- Buckeye Carter Lumber over Keystone
CLASS H (Regionals)
- Vermilion Impact 15, Wellington Rampage 4
- Mogadore Rockies 9, Buckeye GPM 3
- Vermilion DRD Wildcats 13, Buckeye MTD 5
- S.Amherst/Firelands 7, Ravenna Raptors 1
- Medina Indians over Columbia Morgan Trucking
- MN Cavanaugh 10, Firelands 4
- Grafton General Plug 2, Plain Local 1
- Southeast Palmyra over Vermilion
- Sheffield 10, Carrollton 2
- Alliance Bulldogs 6, Lorain Titans 4
- Plain Local 7, Alliance 1
- Ellet Aztecs 12, Elyria LNB 2
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or email@example.com.