LORAIN — All Vermilion had to do was get through one final inning and it would still be playing baseball today.
But the top-seeded Sailors couldn’t do that, losing 7-6 to third-seeded Cleveland Benedictine in a Division II district semifinal game at The Pipe Yard.
The Sailors concluded their season with a 13-15 record, while the Bengals moved on to today’s district championship at 5 p.m. against No. 4 seed Holy Name, which bounced second-seeded Firelands 7-4 in the day’s second game.
Benedictine came up with three big runs — and a little help from the Sailors — in their last at-bat to pull the upset. The Bengals turned two walks, a sacrifice, a hit battter and three singles into a winning rally.
“It’s a tough loss,” veteran Vermilion coach Jeff Keck said. “The kids played hard, as they always do, but just came up on the short end today. One of our big problems today was we didn’t do anything offensively after our big second inning, leaving a lot of runners (nine) on base.”
The game was delayed two hours by a sudden heavy rainstorm shortly before it was set to start at 2 p.m.
Benedictine (15-12) won despite being outhit 10-7 and committing three errors.
The Bengals scored two in the top of the first on a Mike Adamowski triple on the second pitch of the game, a wild pitch, a walk and a single.
But the Sailors got five runs in the second on two hit batters, doubles by Josh Buchanan and Vinnie Ragnoni and singles by Justin Albrethsen, Caleb Waller and Mitch Peterson.
The Bengals also had two of their three errors in the inning.
After Vermilion starter Garrett Koutsopoulos got out of the first inning he cruised through the second, third and fourth, retiring 10 of 11 batters. Two unearned runs in the fifth, cut the Sailors’ lead to 5-4, however.
Still, the Sailors bounced back with an unearned run in the sixth to grab the 6-4 lead the Bengals erased with their seventh-inning rally.
“We have now played 12 one-run games this year,” Benedictine coach Brian Sliwinski said. “Our guys are confident they still can win while trailing. I’m not a rah-rah type of guy. I let them roll on their own. They know what to do to win and they do it.”
Albrethsen, the designated hitter, led the Sailors with three hits, while Waller, Peterson and Buchanan had two each.
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.