XENIA — It was a habit Legacy Christian Academy baseball coach Scott Pickens was hoping his team would break, during the opening round of the Division IV high school sectional tournament first round game, but it wasn’t to be.
Pickens’ No. 7 seeded LCA Knights gave up a big inning of runs to ninth seed Cedarville, and the visiting Indians came away with a 7-5 win, May 7 at Grady’s Field on the Athletes In Action Sports Complex grounds.
Cedarville (6-18) capitalized on some wild Knights pitching in the second inning, to score five runs on three hits (by Andrew Pollander, Hunter Baldwin, Dominic Oliver), two hit batsmen (Ben Supplee and Pollander) and walks by Kane Odon and C.J. Pahl.
The Indians loaded the bases on three different occasions in the inning, with Pollander, Odon, Supplee, Baldwin and Pahl scoring.
“We pitched the ball pretty well, we played not great defense, but OK defense, making plays on the field when we needed to,” said Cedarville coach Andy Pauling. “We made some defensive stops that maybe were a little harder to find. We made some big plays though, throwing out runners at third and at home plate. I thought the back-to-back triples were big for us, too. Our guys did well on the mound, too. They threw strikes and kept us out of trouble.”
Pickens said his team’s tendency to give up runs in one bad inning was the difference again for his 4-9 team.
“This year’s 4-9 record is not a good reflection of this team,” Pickens said. “It’s been that one inning every game. We were just telling the younger men who are coming back next season: Learn how to not like that, a lot. That way, you know how it feels.”
Legacy responded with a pair of runs in its half of the third inning — Joey McCaskey scored from third on an errant pickoff throw, and then Deuce Brown singled to left to score senior Zack Thompson — but Cedarville’s Caleb McKinion and Pahl hit back-to-back triplesto take on two more scores in its half of the fourth to salt the game away.
The host Knights also addded a run in the bottom of the seventh, but could get no closer.
Cedarville will now advance to the second round of the sectional tournament, where they will take on second-seeded Tri-County North at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 9 in Lewisburg.
LCA loses three seniors: Metro Buckeye Conference hitting leader Josh Rutan, Thompson and do-everything catcher/pitcher Ashton Burke, who caught a pair of successive foul fly balls as a catcher to get the Knights out of one bases loaded jam, and struckout five of the six Indians batters he faced as a pitcher in the final two innings of play.
“Two of them were team captains for us, and Josh Rutan joined us last year. Josh will probably come back to help coach the team next year, and Zack Thompson has been a quality outfielder for us all year. All three of them will be sorely missed,” Pickens said.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.