CHILLICOTHE — The Shockers, simply put, had a Sunday fun day by doing a Chillicothe two-step.
That’s because the Waverly Post 142 baseball team won both games it played on Sunday at Chillicothe’s Hoffman Field — and thus advanced to Tuesday evening’s championship tilt of the four-team Region V Tournament.
In their first affair, the second-seeded Shockers scored an opening-inning run followed by two more in the third to break a 1-1 tie —as they defeated Hillsboro by a count of 3-1.
In Sunday’s nightcap, and amid a lengthy rain delay and a hard-fought quality battle against Portsmouth Post 23, the Shockers scored once again in the opening inning — and won in extra-inning walk-off fashion thanks to a wild pitch for a 2-1 triumph.
The victories sent the Shockers back to Chillicothe, where they faced the top-seeded and host Colts for the Region V Tournament championship.
With the tourney being double-elimination, one Waverly win would mean the title returns to Pike County along U.S. Route 23 South.
Chillicothe, which lost 4-3 in the tournament opener on Sunday against fourth-seeded Portsmouth, needed to defeat the Shockers twice to claim the championship.
A second title game, if needed, was set for Wednesday.
Late into the night on Sunday, the Shockers broke the 1-1 tie against Portsmouth and scored in the eighth inning —after loading the bases with three walks with Alex Boles, who was pinch-running for Easton Lansing, racing home on the wild pitch.
The Shockers scored their only other run in the first frame when Kannon Pack and Derek Eblin drew back-to-back two-out walks, Pack stole second and third, and Lane Mettler singled Pack home for the 1-0 lead which carried all the way to the top of the sixth stanza.
Waverly’s only other hits were singles by J.T. Barnett in the second inning and Eblin in the seventh.
Eblin, in striking out a pair of Post 23 batters in the eighth, earned the win in relief of Cruz McFadden —who had pitched a complete-game three-hitter with 11 strikeouts in the Shockers’ 11-1 win over Portsmouth two weeks ago.
This time, McFadden again went the opening seven innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out 10 as Portsmouth’s lone point was unearned.
It marked the second straight game in a matter of mere hours that the Shockers got great pitching —and limited an opponent to only one run.
Against Hillsboro, Mettler —despite giving up seven hits and three first-inning walks to load the bases —struck out seven in earning the win.
Three of those Hillsboro hits — all singles — were in the third, including an RBI-single by Tylor Wolfe.
But Mettler struck out seven, as Jacob Mathews stepped in and gained the two-inning save —allowing three hits and hitting one batter while striking out five.
Mettler and Mathews combined to strand several Mavericks’ baserunners — including Wolfe at third.
Mettler escaped the bases-loaded jam in the initial at-bat, then left a Hillsboro runner at third in the second before Wolfe was left aboard.
He then left another man stranded at second in the fourth, followed by runners on first and second in the fifth.
In the second and fifth, Mettler muscled for an inning-ending strikeout, while getting groundouts —including one right back to him — to end the first, third and fourth.
Mathews repeated Mettler’s approach in the sixth and seventh, leaving runners on first and second in the sixth and on the corners in the last.
Both of his inning-ending outs were strikeouts.
“Another quality outing for Cruz (McFadden), he’s just tough to square up against. Lane (Mettler) was solid on the mound for us in the first game. He was a bulldog and gave us five quality innings. Jacob (Mathews) came on in relief and shut the gas off for us, very proud of both of them,” said Post 142 coach Jonathan Teeters.
Waverly scored its initial run in the first on the combination of one-out singles by Weston Roop and Pack, and Eblin and Lansing both being hit by a pitch —sandwiched around a Mettler sacrifice fly to left field which scored Roop.
Barnett walked and Jacob Thornsberry singled in the second inning, but it wasn’t until the third that the Shockers made it 3-1.
Pack and Mettler singled sandwiched around Eblin doubling, as Mettler singled in Pack prior to Eblin eventually coming home.
But after Mettler’s second run batted in, the Shockers’ only baserunner of their final 13 batters was Pack with a leadoff walk in the fifth.
No worries, though, as Mettler, Mathews and McFadden made for good Sunday fun day pitching to advance Post 142 to the championship round.
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