Swanton won its second straight sectional baseball title with a 4-3 victory over Tinora in eight innings on Friday. Xaiver Williams drove in the game-winning run in the top of the eighth to propel the Dogs to victory.
Roman Epley went the distance on the mound to earn the win for Swanton.
Williams and Epley each had three hits and Michael Lawniczak had a two-run single.
With the win, Swanton advances to the Division III district tournament at Defiance High School. They will play Eastwood in the district semifinal on Thursday at 2 p.m. The winner will play either Archbold or Genoa on Saturday at 1 p.m.
On Wednesday, Swanton scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to put a cap on a 10-0 win over Rossford in a sectional semifinal game that had a brief lightning delay.
The delay occurred with one out in the top of the third and Swanton holding a 2-0 lead, but they were even better after the stoppage. Most notably was Swanton starting pitcher Zach Bloom, going all five innings for the hometown Bulldogs, allowing just four hits and striking out two.
“I was a little worried because I thought we had some momentum going into it, but it actually kind of calmed him down,” said head coach Tim McCarthy on the delay’s effect on Bloom. “I know he gave up that leadoff double (after the delay) but he was throwing strikes.”
The Bulldogs struck first in the home half of the first on a bases loaded no outs situation. Epley walked, Williams singled, and Lawniczak reached with a bunt single to fill the bases.
Hunter Mix reached on a fielder’s choice in which Lawniczak was forced out at second, scoring Epley for the game’s first run. Mix then stole second, and Williams came home on the play to make it 2-0.
“We did a good job of getting our bunts down,” said McCarthy. “I might have been the only person in the park that thought Michael was gonna bunt with first and second and nobody out. But he’s bought in, everybody’s bought in. We had some really nice at bats, and squared the ball up and hit it hard.”
Hunter Broshious walked to lead off the top of the second for Rossford. However, he was picked off at first by Lawniczak who threw behind the runner. Riley Ralph then walked and moved to second on a balk call, but Bloom got a strikeout and pop out to end the threat.
In the top of the third, he got a groundout from Ryan Jagodzinski before the dark clouds rolled in and lightning halted play. When the game resumed, Dillon Prater smacked a double to left before Bloom retired the side with a flyout and groundout.
“When you can throw multiple pitches for strikes, it keeps the hitters off balance,” said McCarthy on Bloom. “Like I said, after the delay he got really good. He got his curveball and fastball over, and threw it in any counts. So he did a really nice job locating (his pitches), and just keeping them a little off balance. They put the ball in play but we were solid defensively and made some plays.”
Swanton scored three times in the bottom of the inning to make it a 5-0 game. The second of those runs came with Mix on third, in which Austin Luce laid down a bunt and despite a brief hesitation, Mix slid home safely.
“It was a missed sign,” said McCarthy of the play. “It was supposed to be a straight squeeze, and luckily, Hunter got a good read on it after that.
“Probably shouldn’t have, but that was good instincts by Hunter, to after he missed the sign to try and get in there.”
The Dogs finished off Rossford with a five-spot in the fifth.
With runners on second and third, a Luce single scored Mix, then Bloom reached on an error to score pinch-runner Wyatt Lake. Then, with two outs later in the frame, Williams’ two-run single made it 9-0. After an intentional walk of Lawniczak, Mix came up again and singled home Tommy Chonko to end the game early in light of the run rule.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010
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