The old adage says that revenge is a dish best served cold.
With unseasonably cold temperatures on Friday, Clay did just that. After being bested by Notre Dame twice in the regular season, the Panthers extracted some revenge in the tournament, upsetting the No. 1 seed Titans 6-4 for a trip to the district tournament on Monday.
The regular season matchups were close, with Notre Dame winning by one run and two runs respectively. Of course, close games are nothing new to Clay coach Marc Robinson.
“We've lost seven one-run games,” said Robinson. “This team has been close so many times. I think we are jelling at the right time, and I credit senior leadership for that. Our seniors stepped up tonight and won us the game.”
Ryan Kirkpatrick led Clay in hitting, going 3 for 4 with three RBI, two of those coming in a five-run first inning. Nick Blanton and Danny Frantz also drove in a run apiece. On the mound, Justin Craft pitched a complete game, getting a lot of ground balls and pop ups, according to Robinson.
The Panthers will play Eastern Meigs on Monday at Rio Grande, their third appearance in the district tournament in the last four years.
“I feel like we have a really young team and this is a good experience, but I hope they realize this is just another step and we will keep on battling,” said Robinson.
Clay 500 001 0 - 6 8 1
Notre Dame 101 001 1 - 4 9 1
WP: Justin Craft. LP: Matt Mader.
Clay - Ryan Kirkpatrick 3-4 3 RBI; Nick Blanton RBI; Danny Frantz RBI.
Notre Dame - Matt Mader 3-4, 2B.
Record - Clay 9-14.
Wheelersburg 2, Ironton 1
Ironton scored first, but Wheelersburg scored when it counted.
Dennis Gagai hit a solo home run in the top of the first to give the Fighting Tigers a 1-0 lead, but that would be the only run the team would score. It seemed to be enough, as the Pirates would not put a run on the board until the bottom of the sixth.
Brandon White stroked a hit, and later scored on a Calebb Proehl single. In the seventh, Wheelersburg had the bases loaded with one out and John Storey at bat. The senior was walked on four straight pitches to plate the winning run.
“It was one of those types of games where we faced some adversity in the early innings,” said Wheelersburg coach Michael Estep. “We hit the ball hard, but they made the plays. We kept putting good at-bats together, and our senior had some good hits in the later innings.”
While the hitting was solid, Estep credited pitcher Justin Stegman for having a strong performance.
“Justin went out there and was rock solid after the first inning,” he said. “In fact, in the last three innings, he only threw 20 pitches. He set the tone for us, and allowed us to get those runs when we needed.”
Drew Sampson, Adam Wamsley and White each had two hits in the win.
Ironton 100 000 0 - 1 2 1
Wheelersburg 000 001 1 - 2 8 1
WP: Justin Stegman. LP: Dennis Gagai.
Ironton - Gagai 1-3 HR; Johnson 1-2.
Wheelersburg - Drew Sampson 2-4; Brandon White 2-3 R; Alex Wamsley 1-4 2B; Calebb Proehl 1-3 RBI; Adam Wamsley 2-3.
Record - Wheelersburg 23-5.
Green 12, Symmes Valley 10
Green started off the game strong, but needed some late scoring to put away Symmes Valley.
The Bobcats answered the Vikings' three runs in the top of the first with 10 of their own in the bottom of the first, but Symmes Valley plated six more in the second. The Vikings tied the score in the sixth with a run, but Green scored two more to win the sectional title.
Cody Stapleton, Brian Ramey and Randy Ratcliff each had two hits, with Stapleton driving in three runs, and Ramey and Ratcliff driving in two each.
Symmes Valley 360 001 0 - 10 6 3
Green (10)00 002 x - 12 13 2
WP: John Dawson. S: Odie Kelly.
Green - Cody Stapleton 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Brian Ramey 2-3, 2 RBI; Randy Ratcliff 2-3, 2 RBI.
Symmes Valley - Meadows 2-5; Hatfield 2-4
Record - Green 14-4-1 (12-1-1).
Wheelersburg 10, South Point 1
With one swing of the bat, Wheelersburg got all the runs it needed against South Point.
Freshman Chelsea Chaffin hit a grand slam in the bottom of the third to put the Lady Pirates up 6-0 on their way to the 10-1 victory. Ericka Faulkner, Alyssa Weaver, Brittany Meenach and Jamie Clevenger each had two hits in the win, and Brooke Baker went 3 for 3. Faulkner drove in two runs and Weaver scored twice.
Taylan Floyd allowed just three hits, striking out nine.
“Taylan threw well, and this was probably the best game she has thrown all year,” said Wheelersburg coach Gary Bailey. “It was good to see everybody hit the ball well and you have to get a lot of the credit to Chaffin. That grand slam really gave us a lot of momentum.”
South Point 000 100 0 - 1 3 2
Wheelersburg 006 004 x - 10 14 0
WP: Taylan Floyd 9k. LP: Woody.
Wheelersburg - Ericka Faulkner 2-4 2 RBI; Alyssa Weaver 2-4 2B, 2R; Brooke Baker 3-3; Brittany Meenach 2-3; Jamie Clevenger 2-3; Chelsea Chaffin 1-2 GS, 4 RBI.
Record - Wheelersburg 18-7.
Northwest 10, Peebles 0
Northwest couldn't get any offense going for the first three innings, but erupted for nine runs in the fourth and never looked back.
Audrey Lute, Tori Fite and Alexis Mahaffey each had two hits, with Lute hitting a triple and driving in three runs and Mahaffey hitting a double and plating four. Kristen Bradshaw struck out six, and had a double and scored twice.
“The first time around, we couldn't hit their pitcher,” said Lady Mohawks assistant coach Tom Simon. “That changed in the fourth, and it just kept coming. Plus, we got some good hitting and defense, and that is crucial this time of the year.”
Peebles 000 00 - 0 1 2
Northwest 000 91 - 10 10 1
WP: Kristen Bradshaw. LP: Wallingford.
Peebles - Seaman 1-3.
Northwest - Audrey Lute 2-3 3B, 2R, 3 RBI; Tori Fite 2-3 R, RBI; Alexis Mahaffey 2-3 2B, 4 RBI, R; Kristen Bradshaw 1-2 2B, 2R.
Record - Northwest 16-12.