NORTH ROBINSON — Tuesday afternoon provided perfect weather for baseball as the Colonel Crawford Eagles played host to the Crestline Bulldogs in Division IV, Galion District sectional semifinals action at Marion E. Althouse Field.
The visiting Bulldogs wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Zac Hatfield would lead-off the game with a single, the first of four hits for Crestline in the top of the first. After half an inning, the ‘Dogs would lead their hosts 2-0 as the Crawford defense pulled through and forced Crestline to leave the bases loaded.
In their first at bats, the Eagles would also strike early, starting with a single by lead-off batter Trevin Fairchild. Crestline starting pitcher Kaden Ronk would then issue back-to-back walks before getting the clean-up hitter, Eli Shultz, to ground out for the first out of the inning. When all was said and done in the first, the home team plated three runs on just one hit, stole two bases and would leave runners at second and third en route to taking the 3-2 lead over the ‘Dogs.
On the mound, Crawford starter Drayton Burkhart would settle in during the top of the second and strike out the side to keep the lead for the Eagles in tact. Unfortunately, the Eagles couldn’t get anything going in the home half of the inning as they also went in order.
The offense for both teams would come back to life in the third inning. Crestline would not record a single hit in the top of the frame, but thanks to a pair of Crawford errors with two outs, the Bulldogs would move ahead, albeit momentarily; 4-3. Burkhart stepped in first for the Eagles and delivered a double to deep left field to put himself into scoring position. Shultz would then single and both Burkhart and Shultz were plated on a Hatfield error off of the bat of designated hitter Daylen Balliett. Balliett would make it all the way to third on the costly error and then score on a sacrifice bunt by Brock Ritzhaupt. Heading into the fourth, the home team found themselves back on top; 6-4.
After a flyout to short by Kevin Winkler, Hatfield would reach first on a four-pitch walk and was eventually moved two second on a two-out single by Ty Clark. However, Dillon Foltz would groundout to first, thus ending the Bulldogs’ threat. In the bottom of the inning, Colonel Crawford would record four singles from Caleb Lohr, Burkhart, Shultz and Ritzhaupt and thanks to an error by Bailey Woolard at second and a throwing error by Clark, the Eagles were able to extend their lead to 9-4.
Crestline would tack on one run in the fifth and would leave the bases loaded for the second time in the contest. Colonel Crawford would get just two men on base in the bottom of the inning, stranding one at second base.
The sixth inning would spell disaster for the hosting Eagles. Spencer Mutchler, who came on in relief of Burkhart with two outs in the fifth, would have to face the entire Bulldogs batting order in the frame and saw Clark twice. Four singles, two hit batters and a throwing error by third baseman Mason McKibben led to six runs for the Bulldogs to put them up; 11-9.
Hatfield, who came on to relieve Ronk in the sixth inning, walked the first batter he saw in the seventh but would buckle down to get Chase Walker on a fielder’s choice, followed by strikeouts of Cameron Smith and McKibben to end the game, thus earning the six-out save.
Offensively, Crestline scored their 11 runs on 11 hits, stranded 11 runners on base (six in scoring position) and stole just one base. Colonel Crawford managed nine runs on nine hits, left five runners on (four in scoring position) and swiped three bases in the loss. Defensively, each team recorded four errors apiece, many of them leading to unearned runners by the respecitve pitchers.
Despite giving up nine hits and nine runs, Ronk earned the win. Ronk struck out six and walked four over his five innings of work on Tuesday. Hatfied earned the save, going two innings without allowing a hit, striking out three and walking one.
Mutchler takes the loss for Colonel Crawford, allowing six runs on five hits while recording a strike out. Burkhart started and went 4⅔ innings, allowed five runs on six hits, walked five and struck out eight.
Clark and Winkler both finished the game with a pair of singles and a run scored while Clark also netted a run batted in.
Other offensive stats for the visiting Bulldogs in the win were: Hatfield- 1B, 2R, RBI; Logan Ronk- 1B, RBI; Foltz- 1B; Alex Norwood- R; Ethan Clark- 1B, 2R; Woolard- 1B, 2R, SB; Calvin Reed- 1B, RBI; Brandon Collins- R and K. Ronk- 1B, 2RBI, R.
Fairchild, Burkhart and Shultz all recorded multi-hit games for the Eagles in the loss. Fairchild finished with two singles as well as a run scored. Burkhart had a single and a double and scored three times. Shultz played his final game for Crawford and went out with a pair of singles, a run batted in, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Other offensive stats for the home team: Lohr- 1B, R; Balliett- 2R, SB; Ritzhaupt- 1B, 3RBI, SB and Smith- 1B. All nine of Crawford’s runs were scored by the first five hitters in the lineup. The final five batters managed just two hits for the contest on Tuesday.
For Colonel Crawford, they finish their 2018 season on a 12-game losing skid and a mark of 4-19. Crestline snapped their four-game losing streak with the win to improve to 6-8 on the year.
The Bulldogs, the No. 9 seed in the district, will be on the road to Sycamore on Thursday, May 10 to meet up with the No. 3 seeded Mohawk Warriors at 5 p.m to play for a sectional championship and a district semifinals berth.
Crestline starter Kaden Ronk (7) and catcher Ty Clark have a meeting of minds during Tuesday’s sectional semifinals tourney game at Colonel Crawford. The Bulldogs won in the high-scoring contest; 11-9.
The look that you have when your coach is confused about why you didn’t take third in a close tournament game. The hosting Colonel Crawford Eagles fell to the Crestline Bulldogs in their sectional semifinals contest; 11-9.
It was a beautiful day for baseball at Marion E. Althouse Field, home of the Colonel Crawford Eagles. Crawford was in sectional semis action on Tuesday against the visiting Crestline Bulldogs.