ALLIANCE — Lorain County had five chances to win Hot Stove state titles Sunday and came away with four.
Midview’s North Cavanaugh Electric and South Amherst Firelands won in thrilling fashion in Class F (14 years old) and FF (13) while Vermilion’s G (12) and H (10) teams won easily. Only in Class EE (15-16) did Sheffield Venom fail to win the title — losing in eight innings.
In Class F, Midview got a bit of revenge in handing Champion an 8-3 loss, its first loss of the year after 40 straight wins, including a 6-2 decision over North Cavanaugh in a Memorial Day tournament. It was Midview’s only loss in 23 games this season.
Midview applied the pressure right off the bat, scoring three times in the first inning and adding three more in the second for a quick 6-1 lead. Midview stole two bases in each of the first two innings and consistently went from first to third the whole game.
“That’s our gameplan every game,” Midview manager Scott Crum said. “We want to put pressure on the opposing team — taking the pitchers deep into counts or with our baserunning. It’s something we pride ourselves on.
“First time we played these guys, we never really had a chance to do that. We never got guys on base. We had a lot of strikeouts. (Sunday) we were able to get guys on base and it kind of opened the floodgates.”
“It’s always fun to try and get back on a team,” said Scott’s son, Dustin Crum, named the MVP of the Class F state tournament. “It’s also fun to compete against other good teams.”
The younger Crum knocked in two runs with a sharp single to right field in the bottom of the fifth to answer the two runs Champion scored in its half. It was the key hit in the game, especially since Champion had forced two straight runners at the plate after Midview loaded the bases with no outs.
It was crum’s third hit of the day, giving him four RBIs. Crum pitched a complete game in Saturday’s semifinal, giving Sunday’s starter John Jocke something to emulate.
“I just wanted to get this victory,” said Jocke, who went the distance and contributed two hits and two RBIs. “I just wanted to put it in the strike zone and not walk too many. It’s been in the back of my mind the whole season to get back at them.”
South Amherst Firelands came up with five runs in the top of the seventh inning and held off one last-ditch rally from the Medina Indians to claim the Class FF title, 9-7. It was the third time the teams had played this year with each side winning once coming in.
The game was a back-and-forth nail-biter until Firelands capitalized on four errors to fuel its huge rally. Austin Urban started things by reaching second on a throwing error on a groundball to short. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on another throwing error to tie the game at 5.
Nick Denney, who had a triple in the first inning and pitched well earlier, walked and stole second. Michael Bansek reached on an error on the right fielder, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Jacob Campbell singled down the third-base line, scoring Denny and putting runners on first and third. Campbell then stole second and Medina intentionally walked Evan Lacey to load the bases.
Aaron Myers’ bloop single to right scored one run and Jacob Newman reached on another error to score another. Colin Ransom’s sacrifice fly put Firelands in front, 9-5.
“We put the pressure on them a little bit,” Firelands manager Jeff Metzger said.
Medina, which played the regular season in the same league as Firelands, scored twice in its half of the inning with two outs before grounding out to third to end the game.
“This is the third time we’ve played these guys,” Metzger said. “They won the county championship and they’re a very good team. We came back and took the state championship from them. Very proud of the boys. They played excellent. We’re very fortunate — we’ve got good players one through 12 and we’ve got eight good pitchers.”
“We wouldn’t have won it if it weren’t for the team,” said Denny, named the MVP of his class. “Our team was cheering us on with each at-bat. I’m very fortunate.”
“They’re a very good team,” Medina manager Joe Hamel said. “We’ve played them twice before. They beat us by 10 runs the first time and we beat them by nine runs the second time. Two evenly matched teams. They really closed it out well.”
Vermilion won two titles — Class H and Class G. In Class H, Vermilion Impact run-ruled the Lake Twins, 19-7. Cole Parker, the MVP of the class, had three hits, including a pair of doubles. Jayden Fox also had three hits.
Vermilion DRD Wildcats whipped Homeworth Fab, 11-2, in Class G. Caden Cooper had three hits to earn the MVP. His two-run singled keyed a five-run outburst in the second inning. Cooper also picked up the win.
Only defending champion Sheffield Venom failed to win a championship, losing a heartbreaker in Division EE in extra innings, 6-5, to Southeast Palmyra .
Mark Racz’s team trailed 3-0 before tying the game in the fourth inning and taking a 4-3 lead on Kyle Svenson’s RBI double, only to lose the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
In the eighth, Eric Vraja’s triple put Venom up 5-4, but Palmyra managed a two-out rally in its half of the inning on a walk, an infield single and Shane Polidoro’s triple to hand the Venom its first loss of the year after 18 straight wins.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hot Stove state finals
CLASS HH: Ohio Rack 8, Buckeye Carter Lumber 6
CLASS H: Vermilion Impact 19, Lake Twins 7
CLASS GG: Alliance Traps Sports 7, Sebring Tire 5
CLASS G: Vermilion DRD Wildcats 11,
Homeworth Fab 2
CLASS FF: South Amherst Firelands 9, Medina Indians 7
CLASS F: Midview N. Cavanough 8, Champion Blue Jays 3
CLASS EE: Southeast Palmyra 6, Sheffield Venom 5
CLASS EE: Plain Local Eagles 3, Ellet Akron Aztecs 2