Graders drop two of three weekend contests

By Chad Clinger - [email protected]

Licking County Settlers 7, Galion Graders 5

GALION — After their win in dramatic fashion against the Licking County Settlers on Saturday, the Galion Graders played hosts to the Settlers once again at Heddleson Field in Heise Park on Sunday, June 30.

Offense would prove to be a bit more prominent in game two of the series with the advantage going to Licking County; 7-5. With the victory, the Settlers improved to 14-9 overall on the season as Galion dropped to 5-16.

The guests would plate a run in both the top of the first and second innings but Galion grabbed the lead with three runs scored in the home half of the opening frame.

DeVonte Washington led-off the game for the Graders with a single before reaching second via an error by Licking County shortstop William Kopicki. Andrew Sharp would follow with a single to put runners at the corners early on for Galion before stealing second base during the next at bat by Steven D’Eusanio. D’Eusanio would groundout to short for the first out of the first before Bryce Ray walked to load the bases. Sean McLaughlin would then step in and deliver a two-run double, scoring both Washington and Sharp and moving Ray to third in the process. Up by a tally of 2-1 at that point, the Settlers Jarret Fowlkes was removed from the game following a collision in the outfield, delaying the contest while being attended to by medical staff. Austin Harper grounded out to short for out number two in the first but delivered Ray home in the process to put Galion up 3-1 before Licking County plated one in their portion of the second. The Graders would be held scoreless in the bottom of the second.

Following a 1, 2, 3 top of the third, McLaughlin led-off the Galion part of the third with a walk to start a potential rally. Austin Harper would reach via a base on balls as well and the Graders had two on with nobody out. A wild pitch from Settlers starter Conor Crotty moved both McLaughlin and Harper up a bag before Ontario product and Ohio State University bound Avery Fisher went down on strikes for the first out. In stepped second year man Luke Correia who proceeded to double in both McLaughlin and Harper to put the Graders in the driver’s seat at 5-2 after three innings of play.

However, Galion would fail to score for the remainder of the contest, recording just three singles throughout the remaining six innings, while the Licking County Settlers plated three runs in the top of the fifth and two additional runs in the eighth to take the game to its 7-5 final.

The Graders would use four pitchers throughout the contest with the loss being dealt to James Kontur. Kontur worked the eighth innings and allowed just one hit and two runs (one earned) while walking a pair and fanning three.

Other pitching statistics from Sunday’s game were: SP Trey Bame- 4⅔IP, 10H, 5ER, BB, 4K; Troy Vermillion- 2⅓IP, 2H, BB, 2K and Chase Jessee- IP, K.

Sharp and McLaughlin each recorded multi-hit games at the dish for the Graders, belting a single and a double apiece while Sharp scored once and stole a base and McLaughlin scored once and drove in a pair.

Other offensive stats for Galion in the loss were: Team- 8/35, 5R, 4RBI, 7BB, 9K, 3-2B, 2SB, 11 LOB; Washington- 1B, R; Ray- R; Harper- 1B, R; Thomas Staab- SB; Correia- 2B, 2RBI and Ryan Strittmather- 1B.

The Graders are set to open a three-game series, at home, with the visiting Michigan Monarchs on Tuesday evening before heading to Lima for one game with the Locos on Friday. On Saturday, during the annual Pickle Run Festival, Galion will once again be at home and will play the Locos in a doubleheader with the town’s fireworks to follow the action.

Galion 5, Licking County 4

GALION — Back on Saturday evening, the Graders clashed with the Locos in their series opener and would walk it off, literally, by a final tally of 5-4.

In a game that saw just four combined hits and six combined errors, Galion would not tally their first and only hit until the bottom of the ninth inning thanks to a two-out single from Sharp. D’Eusanio followed Sharp with a walk before the Licking County coaching staff decided to intentionally walk Ray to load the bases and create a force out at any bag. The plan would backfire as pitcher Nick Meyer walked McLaughlin to plate the winning run for the hosts.

The Settlers went until the top of the seventh without a hit before recording two singles that eventually led to three runs. In the top of the ninth, Darius Diaz belted a solo home run to tie the game at four before Galion clinched the contest in the home half.

Galion High School graduate Garrett Kuns was superb on the mound for the Graders, going six, no-hit innings while walking five and striking out seven. Parker Brown tossed ⅔ of an inning, giving up a hit and two earned runs while walking one and fanning two. Louis Lipthratt closed out the seventh for Galion, giving up a hit and an earned run while recording one strikeout. Christopher Punka earned the win, working the eighth and ninth innings, allowing just the home run and picking up a strikeout in the process.

Southern Ohio Copperheads 13, Galion Graders 11

GALION — Following their 18-6 slugfest on Thursday, June 27, the Southern Ohio Copperheads were back at it again against the Galion Graders on Friday evening at Heddleson Field.

The two squads would find themselves in another high-output game with the C-heads coming out on top by a final score of 13-11. In game two of the series, Southern Ohio would post 15 hits while the hosting Graders belted 14 hits but left 11 runners on the base path en route to the defeat.

Things would get off to a shaky start for the home team as they surrendered six runs in the top of the second, followed by five runs in the third to go down early; 11-0. But, just like at any level of baseball, all it took was one inning to turn things around and that inning was the bottom of the fifth.

After holding the Copperheads scoreless in both the fourth and fifth, Galion’s offense exploded for nine runs of their own in the home half of the fifth to dramatically cut into their 11-run deficit.

The rally began when Staab reached via an error by the first baseman and it was all downhill from there for the C-heads. Avery Fisher was hit by a pitch to be awarded first and then took second on a double steal from both himself and Staab. Ray got the bats going with a double and was proceeded by three consecutive singles from Harper, Sharp and Washington to chase off pitcher Jake Hansen. With Nick Kaiser now on the mound, McLaughlin then singled before JP Bitzenhofer went down on strikes for out number two. In stepped Staab again, who double before Fisher roped a triple. Strittmather recorded the eighth and final hit of the inning, a double, that scored Fisher and took the score to 11-9.

Southern Ohio managed one run in both the sixth and the eighth to stretch their lead to 13-9. In the bottom of the eighth, Galion would plate a pair of runs to again cut the lead to two runs at 13-11 and send the game into the final inning.

The Copperheads went in order in the top of the frame, sending the Graders to bat, trailing by two and down to potentially their final three outs. With two of those three outs recorded, Ray delivered again, this time with a single. D’Eusanio walked and Sharp singled to load the bases and put the winning run at first. Washington stepped into the batter’s box looking to hopefully extend the game for Galion but would go down on strikes to end the threat and the contest.

Pitching stats in the loss to the C-heads on Friday were: SP/LP Creek Miller- 6IP, 13H, 12R(7E), BB, 5K; Vermillion- IP; Lipthratt- ⅓IP, 2H, ER, BB; Punka- ⅔IP, K and Jessee- IP, 3K.

Offensive numbers for the Graders were: Team- 14/42, 11R, 8RBI, 2BB, 9K, 3-2B, 3B, 4SB; Ray- 1B, 2B, R, 2RBI; Harper- 1B, R; Kuns- R, SB; Sharp- 3-1B, 2R, SB; Washington- 1B, R, RBI; McLaughlin- 1B, R; Bitzenhofer- 1B; Nicholas Sykes- 1B, RBI; Staab- 1B, 2B, 2R, 2RBI, SB; Fisher (Graders debut)- 3B, 2R, RBI, SB and Strittmather- 2B, RBI.

By Chad Clinger

[email protected]

Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048

Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048