PAINESVILLE — Galion is now two victories away from earning a berth in the Ohio 12U Little League state championship game. The orange and blue kept its title hopes alive by posting a 6-2 win over Cuyahoga Falls North in a loser’s bracket semifinal game on Thursday at Kiwanis Recreation Park in Painesville.
“Great game overall,” said Galion head coach Jason McMullen. “As the kids told me last night we are in the final four! Hamilton got beat last night in extra innings 2-1 by North Canton. Winner of our game tonight will get Hamilton on Saturday at 7:30.”
Galion (3-1 tournament record) scored solo runs in the first and second innings and added three more runs in the third to build a 5-0 cushion. Cuyahoga Falls North tallied a run in the fourth, but Galion answered with a run in the fifth and led 6-1 with one inning left to play. Cuyahoga Falls North (2-2) pulled another run back in the bottom of the seventh, but Galion held on for the victory, which eliminated the Summit County ballclub from the tournament.
Owen Mullins had a home run and a basehit for Galion. Matthew McMullen had two singles. Carter Valentine had a double. Wilson Frankhouse and Owen Hatfield each had a basehit.
McMullen said his pitching staff did a great job holding Cuyahoga Falls North in check for much of the game. Carter Keinath started for Galion worked three shutout innings, striking out nine batters. Troy Manring replaced Keinath in the fourth and gave up two solo home runs, one in the fourth and the other in the sixth. He finished with three strikeouts.
“Other than (giving up the home runs), Troy was outstanding,” McMullen said. “This was the first time he pitched in the entire tournament. Three strike outs and forced a lot of ground balls.”
Mount Vernon (2-1) will be Galion’s opponent in Friday’s contest. The Knox Countians hit six home runs on the way to a 17-7 win over Wheelersburg in five innings. It was Mount Vernon’s second mercy rule win of the tournament. They shut out Washington Court House, 12-0, on Sunday.
The lone blemish on the state tournament record thus far for both Galion and Mount Vernon is a loss to Hamilton West Side. Hamilton blanked Galion, 16-0, and also shut out Mount Vernon, 15-0.
North Canton (3-0) advanced to the title game by upsetting Hamilton West Side 2-1 on Thursday evening in extra innings. The contest was scoreless until the seventh inning when Hamilton took a 1-0 lead thanks to a Carson Haynes solo home run. However, that was shortlived as North Canton rallied behind a solo home run by Nick Presutto that tied the game, and a walk-off single by Bryce Evans to earn the win.
The championship game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch on Sunday. If necessary, a second game to determine the state champion will be played at 5:30 p.m.
The Ohio 12U Little League state champion will advance to the Great Lakes Regional, scheduled for Aug. 9-15 in Indianapolis, Ind.
Ohio 12U Little League Baseball Tournament
Kiwanis Recreation Park, Painesville
Final – Galion 6, Cuyahoga Falls North 2
Final – Mount Vernon 17, Wheelersburg 7 (5 innings)
Final – North Canton 2, Hamilton West Side 1 (7 innings)
Galion (3-1) v. Mount Vernon (2-1), 5 p.m.
Galion/Mount Vernon winner v. Hamilton West Side (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
North Canton (3-0) v. TBA, 2 p.m.
North Canton (3-0) v. TBA, 5:30 p.m. (if necessary)
Andrew Carter can be reached at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048. Connect with him on Twitter @ACGalionSports.