EV-L leads Falcons past Oaks to win sectional

Staff report

MINFORD — Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis was his usual dominating pitching self on Saturday for the Minford Falcons.

So all the Falcons had to do was find a way —somewhere and sometime — to post a couple of runs for the win.

Minford did just that in the fourth inning against the Oak Hill Oaks, crossing twice to capture a 2-0 victory —and another Division III baseball sectional championship.

And, who else, but leave it to Vogelsong-Lewis to come up with the only run batted in.

The Falcons, which raised their record to a stellar 21-2-1, won their sixth (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021) consecutive sectional crown — part of 17 overall and all 17 coming since 1993.

More importantly, Minford moved on to Monday’s Division III district semifinals — and a date against Adena, which shut out Portsmouth West 11-0 in another sectional final on Saturday.

The Falcons, which won the outright Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship, are the top-seeded squad in the entire Southeast District Division III tournament —but got all they wanted from the 16th-seeded and upset-minded Oaks.

Oak Hill, which made two errors compared to Minford’s one, ended its season at 13-14.

Both teams had only four hits apiece as Oak Hill pitcher Rylan Sams stayed at-bat for at-bat with Vogelsong-Lewis, but Vogelsong Lewis did not allow a run nor a walk in throwing 79 pitches and striking out seven.

He earned the win, while Sams fired 94 pitches —as both Falcon runs were earned and Sams also walked four while striking out eight.

Vogelsong-Lewis retired the Oaks 1-2-3 in innings one, three and four —as Oak Hill’s only baserunner through the first four frames was a leadoff double by Aidan Hall in the second.

He retired nine in a row and 12 of his first 13 — before in the fifth Flint Barger singled to lead off, Gavin Howell reached on the Falcons’ only error, and Nick Swisher hit into a fielder’s choice.

But Vogelsong-Lewis got the final two outs after seeing Swisher for the first, as Oak Hill’s only baserunner in the sixth was Isaiah Needham with a one-out single.

Taking the 2-0 lead into the final at-bat, Vogelsong-Lewis gave up a leadoff single to Barger who stole second, but then recorded his final strikeouts —as senior teammate and catcher Matthew Risner caught Barger trying to steal third to end the game.

At the plate, Vogelsong-Lewis landed a fourth-inning triple per Minford’s stats, as Adam Crank singled to lead off the inning and scored.

Vogelsong-Lewis, who doubled with two outs in the opening inning but was left stranded at third after stealing a base, later came in to make it 2-0.

The only other Minford hit was a fifth-inning single by Risner, who reached on the initial Oak error of the game in the third.

The Falcons stranded five baserunners compared to the Oaks’ four, including in the sixth when Branson Alley reached on a leadoff error.

The four Falcon walks by Sams belonged to Aodhan Queen in the fourth —and to Levi Coriell and Crank and Vogelsong-Lewis, which were back-to-back in the fifth.


Staff report

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved