SHELBY — Wynford upset top-seeded Galion 6-5 on Thursday in a Division III district semifinal at Shelby.
The Tigers’ offense was silenced by Royals ace and Lake Erie College commit, Wyatt Smith, through the first five innings, as Galion managed just one hit, a one-out single in the bottom of the first from Ethan Pigg.
Still, the Tigers had opportunities to score through those five innings, but would strand seven runners in that time frame, including a fourth inning in which they left the bases loaded.
Galion starter Ryan Utz was a bit rocky early, allowing back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the first to Jordan Imbody and Caleb Stone. But he got out of the inning unscathed as Imbody was picked-off trying to steal home during a double-steal attempt. Utz sat down Wynford batters in order the next three innings.
Both teams would see their offenses come alive late, starting with the Wynford portion of the fifth inning.
Errors by Galion shortstop Spencer Keller and Utz would led to the Royals’ first run. After a perfectly-executed sacrifice bunt, Wynford had a runner on third with jone out. Utz fanned the next hitter to inch closer to being out of the inning. But on a passed ball, Wynford plated a run and sent that strike out victim to first base. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases, causing Galion head coach Phil Jackson to make a pitching change, as he handed the ball to freshman Carter Keinath. Keinath got a quick, second out, but then Caleb Stone came up again. He ripped a pitch to deep, left-center to clear the bases and put himself at second with a three-run double. A groundout to Keinath on the mound ended the inning, but the damage was done as Wynford moved ahead 5-0, sc0ring their runs on just one hit.
After going quietly in the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers and Keinath took the field. After a groundout, Keinath picked up a strike out, but another passed ball put that runner at first. With the runner on second following another wild pitch, Seth Benedict stepped in and delivered a single to put runners at the corners with just one out. A fielder’s choice led to another run and a 6-0 Wynford lead.
Cameron Payne was the first up in the Tigers’ sixth and walked. Clay Karnes also walked to put runners at second and first for Galion with no outs. Keinath fanned. But then Keller, another freshman, was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Chase Castline ripped a single, scoring Payne. Utz followed with a single, scoring both Karnes and Keller. After a Pigg strike out, Mitch Dyer stepped up to the plate and belted a two-RBI triple on the first pitch of the at bat to score Castline and Utz. Aaron Barnhart flied out to end the threat, bit the Tigers had cut their deficit to 6-5.
In the top of the seventh inning, Kaleb Harsh came in to pitch for galion. He sat the Royals down in order to send the Tigers back up.
Looking for the dramatic finish, Payne would once again be the Galion lead-off man. He reached on a single and move into scoring position on a Karnes sacrifice. Matthew McMullen would flyout to center, but not deep enough to advance Payne. Down to their final out, the Tigers’ Keller reach edfirst after being hit by a pitch for the second time in the game.
But Galion’s season would come to an end as Castline hit into a flyout to right field.
Offensively, Wynford scored their six runs on just five totals hits while Galion managed their five runs on five hits of their own. The two, costly errors to begin the fifth inning and passed balls on strike outs proved to be difference makers in this contest. The Tigers would leave 10 runners on base in the loss, five of which were left stranded in scoring position.
Wynford will play for a district championship on Saturday, May 19 vs. Edison.
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