GALION — After picking up their first Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference victory on Tuesday at Harding, the Galion Tigers baseball team took to their home field on Wednesday to play the Presidents again to wrap their two-game season series.
Neither team wasted time getting on the scoreboard as the visitors notched two hits in the top of the first which eventually would lead to just one run. Galion recorded the third out of the frame while Harding had two runners in scoring position. In the home half of the second, leadoff hitter Ryan Utz needed just one pitch to get into scoring position himself as he belted a triple all the way to the fence. Next up for the home team was catcher Ethan Pigg and Pigg would lace a single to score Utz. Head coach Phil Jackson’s steal every base philosophy kicked in and paid off as Pigg, as well as Mitch Dyer would score to give the Tigers a 3-1 advantage heading into the second.
The back and forth between the two teams would continue throughout the first four innings of play. After two frames, Galion held a slim, 4-3 lead. Both teams would plate three runs in the third and Galion remained on top; 7-6. Three more runs for the Presidents and four more for the Tigers meant that the home team would take an 11-9 lead into the fifth.
With time running out, neither team was able to record a baserunner, let alone a run in the fifth inning. That inning proved to be the only inning that both teams would be set down in order.
Harding came back by tacking on two runs in the top half of the sixth and held the Galion bats silent in the bottom of the frame, sending the game into the seventh all knotted up at 11 runs apiece.
The Presidents would take a 13-11 advantage after their portion of the seventh, leaving the Tigers with just three outs to catch up. Galion, always implementing small ball when necessary, was able to walk the game off with just one out in the bottom of the seventh. Clean-up hitter Clay Karnes successfully laid down what is known in the baseball world as a “suicide squeeze” to plate the Tigers’ third run of the inning to give them the 14-13 victory.
With that win, Galion moved to 6-1 overall on the season and 2-0 early on within the conference.
Utz and Chase Castline had big days at the dish for the home team, recording three hits apiece. Utz finished with a single, a double and a triple to go along with two runs scored and two runs batted in. Castline finished with a trio of singles, three runs scored, a stolen base and a run scored. Dyer belted a single and a double for the high-powered Galion offense while also scoring three runs and stealing two bases.
Other offense for the Tigers in the win provided by: Pigg- 3RBI, R, SB; Karnes- Game-winning 1B, 4RBI; Carter Keinath- R, RBI, SB; Aaron Barnhart- 1B, R, 3SB; Cameron Payne- 1B, 2R, SB and Spencer Keller- 1B, 3RBI, R.
Kaleb Harsh got the nod on the mound for the home team and went four innings, allowing six hits, nine runs (four earned), walked one and struck out two in the no decision. Keinath came on to work 1⅔ innings of relief, surrendering just one hit, allowing two earned runs while walking five and fanning one. Karnes threw the final 1⅓ for Galion to earn the win, allowing no hits, two runs (one earned), walking none and striking out one batter.
For the contest, the Galion Tigers plated their 14 runs on 12 hits, left four runners on base and committed six errors on defense. Marion Harding scored 13 runs on just seven hits, stranded eight and had three miscues in the field.
Next up for Galion will be a non-conference road contest against the Mansfield Senior Tygers on Friday, April 13. On Saturday, the Tigers will be back on their home field and will play host to MOAC foes, the Buckeye Valley Barons in a doubleheader with the first game beginning at 5 p.m.
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