GALION — It has been a back and forth season thus far for the Galion Graders. This trend continued on Wednesday evening as the Graders dropped the final game of a two-game series with the Lorain County Ironmen, 5-3.
With the loss, Galion is back to .500 with a 10-10 record and sit in third place in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League Central Division. Lorain County is in last place with a record of 7-15.
The first two innings on Wednesday were fairly uneventful for both squads. The Ironmen recorded just two hits off of Galion starter Osvaldo Duran in that time frame while the Graders saw just a single off the bat of lead-off hitter Brady Hettinger.
Lorain County would get on the scoreboard first in the top of the third after three consecutive, one-out singles. With runners on first and second for the Ironmen however, the Graders would convert a controversial 6-4-3 double play to end the threat of further damage. Galion would strand two runners on no hits in the bottom part of the third to head into the fourth down just 1-0.
After a lead-off double, a single and a walk loaded the bases for the Ironmen in the top half of the fourth inning. A shallow flyout to center fielder Hettinger would leave them loaded as Lorain did not want to test Hettinger’s arm. The Ironmen would score a run when the next batter grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. The top of the fourth ended when catcher Matt Noel caught the Lorain County baserunner trying to steal second. Galion would go quietly in the home half of the inning with just a single from Jarett Smetana.
With the score now 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Galion got their first baserunner of the inning via a walk to Joe Crank. Hettinger stepped in and belted a double to put Crank at third with Brandt Nowaskie stepping into the batter’s box. Nowaskie’s sacrifice fly would score both Crank and Hettinger to knot the ballgame at two runs apiece. Noel would reach on a single but would be stranded at first after a flyout to the second basemen y Austin Hathaway.
Just one hit between the two teams in the sixth, a single by Galion’s Josh Kent, set the stage for a tied-scored seventh inning. Two consecutive errors by Crank at short put two runners on to start the top of the inning for Lorain. A single would load the bases and the Ironmen would score their first run of the inning on a bases-loaded walk issued by Duran. The Graders would proceed to get a much needed 6-4-3 double play to give them two outs as another run crossed home plate. A flyout to Crank at short would end the inning with Galion trailing 4-2.
Heading into the top of the eight, Clay Davies took the mound for the Graders. Davies got a quick fly out to center before giving up a single. A stolen base put a runner in scoring position for Lorain and a single put runners at the corners with just one out. A third consecutive single would plate an insurance run for the Ironmen and put runners at first and second, still with just one down. Davies would settle in and record a strike out and a ground out to end the threat and leaving Galion trailing just 5-2 heading into the bottom of the frame. Noel would walk to start the inning and would make it all the way to third but would be stranded there after three straight ground outs to the left side of the infield.
In the ninth, Lorain County would get two more hits, a single and a double but would strand runners at second and third to end the visiting half and leave the game well within reach for the Graders. Josh Kent flied out to start the inning. With potentially only two outs remaining, Galion manager Taylore Baker sent Braxton Giavedoni to the plate to bat for Sam Stewart. Giavedoni rode a slider to deep left field for a double to begin the rally. Matthew Freeman would then pinch-hit for Crank but would go down on strikes. With two outs and Giavedoni at second, Hettinger stepped in and delivered an RBI single to put the score at 5-3 in favor of the visitors. The game would end on a Nowaskie ground out to the Ironmen’s first baseman, stranding Hettinger.
Offensive stats for the Graders- Hettinger: 2-1B, 2B, R, RBI, SB; Nowaskie: 2 RBI; Noel: 1B; Smetana: 1B; Kent: 1B, SB; Giavedoni: 2B, R; Crank: R.
Pitching stats for Galion- Duran (L): 7 IP, 9 H, 4 R (2 E), 2 BB, 5 K; Davies: IP, 3 H, 1 ER, K; Jordan Peck: IP, 2 H.
Galion will play host to the Cincinnati Steam on Thursday and Friday at Heddleson Field in Heise Park. Action for the two-game series is set to begin at approximately 7:05 pm. On Saturday, the Licking County Settlers will be back in Galion and the two squads will play a double header to make up for the postponed game back on June 30. The first game will begin at 5:05 pm with the second game to follow immediately after the conclusion.
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