LORAIN — The payoff was well worth the wait for the Lorain County Ironmen.
In a game that started an hour and five minutes late due to rain, left fielder Taylor Emody tied it with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh before catcher Tyler Greiner sent everyone home with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth as the Ironmen topped the Champion City Kings 7-6 at The Pipe Yard.
Emody hit an 0-2 fastball to medium center field, where Kyle Norris, in for defensive purposes, caught it and fired a one-hopper to catcher Joey Mancuso. The ball skidded on the wet turf in front of the plate and bounded off the end of Mancuso’s glove as Kyle Chontos scampered home with the winning run.
“I got two strikes on me and had to battle there,” Emody said. “I didn’t hit it my best, but Kyle made a nice tag and was able to come home. The team battled all day and this win is a credit to how mentally tough we are becoming.”
The Ironmen (7-7) jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first. Lucas Raley, leading off, hit the first pitch to the base of the wall in center field for a triple. Tyler Bires and Chontos both walked before Emody hit into a double play with Raley scoring.
Billy Salem came through with two outs, lining a single to right to drive in Bires and give Lorain County a 2-0 lead.
The Kings (7-5) came back with six unanswered runs, scoring two in the third, three in the fourth and one in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Ironmen started chipping away. After Addison Rospert flew out to open the inning, Ralen singled sharply to left. Bires then hit a would-be double-play ball, but Champion City shortstop Tanner Reibenspeis booted it to keep the inning alive. Chontos followed with an RBI double, followed by Emody driving in a run with a groundout to third to cut the Kings lead to 6-4.
Greiner singled and scored on Addison Rospert’s single in the sixth to pull the Ironmen within a run at 6-5. In the bottom of the seventh, Emody smashed a William Young fastball over the wall in left-center, just short of the scoreboard, to tie the game.
It was the first Ironmen home run of the season at The Pipe Yard.
“That felt really good after I hit two little nubbers to third,” Emody said. “I got a good pitch to hit and didn’t miss it. I’ll tell you what, hitting a bomb with wood is a whole lot more gratifying than with aluminum. Hopefully I have some more in there.”
Jordan Kesson pitched a 1⅔ innings to get the win, allowing no runs or hits and striking out one.
Kierce Kimball took the loss for Champion City.
“We’re pretty positive right now,” Lorain County manager Joe Rhomberg said. “We won three out of five on the road and I think they’re starting to believe a little bit and get some confidence. We feel like we can hang with any team in the league and we’re pretty good. We battled back tonight with the bats, and if we do that we should be in good shape.”
The teams will square off again tonight at The Pipe Yard. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.