SHELBY — Colonel Crawford’s postseason run came to an end Saturday as the Eagles dropped an 6-5 decision to Edison.
The Chargers (17-11) claimed the Division III district championship in eight innings after rallying from a 3-0 deficit. Edison head coach Sean Hoover said he was impressed with his club’s resilience.
“You’re facing a higher seed, a higher ranked team, you come out, you play well for two or three innings, but then we misplay a ball and give them three runs,” Hoover said. “But these guys have never been head-hangers. They come out and they just keep fighting, keep battling.We ‘ve talked about it, in tournament games weird things happen and you can’t get too high or too low. They did a great job today.”
Colonel Crawford (25-3) ends a season that saw the ballclub win 22 consecutive games and win the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title with a 16-0 record. The Eagles finished the season ranked third in the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association (OHSBCA) Division III poll.
Head coach Dan Gorbett said after the game that he reminded his team of all the success they’ve achieved this season, but it was little consolation following a tough loss.
“You lose a game like this — district championship, extra innings — there’s no words to console them,” Gorbett said. “We did have a good season, but this will go down as a very, very tough loss. You know, it’s almost better if you lose on a walk-off grand slam or something. (Edison) just seemed to chip away, but we had opportunities, we just didn’t cash in on them.”
The Eagles, top seed in the Shelby District, broke open a scoreless game in third inning, pushing three runs across the plate with two outs. Micah Thomas reached second base after a sinking line drive eluded Edison center fielder Bryce Michaelis. Thomas scored on a Nolan McKibben base hit, then McKibben scored on a base hit by Carson Feichtner. Cade Hamilton, who reached base on a single, stole home to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
Edison began its rally in the fourth inning. Brady Barker drew a one-out walk and later scored when Luke Bissell singled to right field to cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Chargers tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth inning, doing all of their damage with two outs. Xander Danner and Thomas Simon reached base on Eagles errors and Barker was hit by a pitch by Eagles starting pitcher Cade Hamilton to load the bases. Noah Smith then singled up the middle to score Danner and Simon.
Each team scored in the sixth inning and the game was tied again at 4-4. Edison left the bases loaded in the top half of the inning. The Eagles left a runner on base in the home half.
Neither team managed to score in the seventh inning despite putting runners on base. Colonel Crawford posed the more serious threat, loading the bases on back-to-back singles and an intentional walk. However, Edison reliever Joe Pennell struck out two batters and an Eagles runner was picked off in a rundown between third base and home plate, allowing the Chargers to stay alive.
In the eighth, Blake Simon singled and scored on an error to give Edison a 5-4 lead. Clint Finnen also had a base hit and scored when Thomas Simon singled to center field to push the Chargers lead to 6-4.
Colonel Crawford loaded the bases with two out in the eighth inning and trimmed the Edison lead to 6-5 when Cade Hamilton drew a walk that allowed Mason McKibben to score. However, Pennell got a ground ball out to end the game and give Edison the district championship.
Pennell pitched 2-2/3 innings in relief for Edison. He gave up one earned run on five hits, recording three strikeouts and four walks. Pennell pitched out of a jam in the eighth inning after the Eagles loaded the bases with two outs. He walked in a run, but then induced a ground ball for the final out of the game.
“Joe Pennell did an awesome job at the end, closing the game out,” Edison coach Sean Hoover said. “Maybe not as quick as he closed out the one on Thursday (against Margaretta in the district semifinals). He was a little bit more nervous this time.”
Freshman Blake Simon started for Edison and worked 5-1/3 innings, giving up four runs (none earned) on six hits. He recorded five strikeouts and two walks. Simon went 3-for-4 and scored two runs.
Noah Smith had two RBI. Finnen and Thomas Simon each had two hits, an RBI, and scored a run. Bissell had two hits and an RBI.
Nolan McKibben and Cade Hamilton each went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored a run to pace the Eagles.
Hamilton started and pitched seven innings. He gave up six runs (three earned) on 11 hits. Hamilton recorded eight strikeouts and just one walk.
Brennan Hamilton pitched the eighth inning in relief for Colonel Crawford.
Edison will face Archbold in the Region 10 semifinals on Thursday at Elida. Archbold defeated Otsego 4-1 on Saturday to win the Defiance District title.
The other Region 10 semifinal features Eastwood and Liberty-Union. Eastwood ended the regular season ranked ninth in the OHSBCA Division III poll.