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Diamond Report

Sectional baseball: Dennis delivers for Firelands in walk-off win over Buckeye

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SOUTH AMHERST — You never know when your name will be called.

That was the case for Firelands’ Sam Dennis on Thursday. Dennis was a pinch hitter for the Falcons with no outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Down 0-2 in the count, he roped an RBI single to give Firelands a 5-4 victory over Buckeye and a Division II sectional championship.

“It feels amazing,” Dennis said. “I was glad I could do it for my team.”

Firelands coach Dan Ramson knew he wanted to use Dennis but needed to find the perfect time.

“I told him the inning before to grab a bat and start swinging,” Ramson said. “I needed to find the right situation. I had him in a different situation earlier, then we decided to go away from it. Then we said, ‘Let’s go and give him a shot.’ I’m real proud of him to come through.”

The state-ranked Falcons improved to 22-3, which ties a school record for wins, matching the 2015 team.

With the game tied 4-4, Firelands got back-to-back base hits from Alex Brill and Calvin Stull to start the seventh. Grant Price was walked intentionally to load the bases for Dennis to drive in the game-winning run.

Both teams struggled to produce baserunners over the first three innings – all due to great starting pitching.

Firelands starter Evan Lacey worked five-plus innings and struck out six, while Garett Priestley went six innings for the Bucks and struck out 11.

The game was tied 2-2 after the three innings.

“I didn’t have my best stuff today. I grinded and got some big outs,” Lacey said. “I like to read batters’ swing and see where they’re standing on the plate to find a weakness.”

Buckeye (10-12) took the lead for the first in the time in the top of the sixth inning in controversial fashion.

Jonathon Neel started the rally for the Bucks with a walk and reached third on a single from Jake Case. Neel scored on a play that was discussed with the umpires and coaches from both schools. Max Wilson jumped out of the batter’s box on a 1-1 count and his bat hit Wilson. No batter’s interference was ruled, so the run stood.

“We thought the ball hit him out of the box,” Ramson said. “Both umpires got together and said it didn’t. My next question for the umpires: ‘Why was he at first base? The count is 1-and-1 and why is he at first?’ The umpires did the right thing and I was trying to grasp a call for us.”

A few batter later, Spencer Imes hit an RBI single, making it 4-2 Bucks.

Firelands tied the game at four in its home half of the inning. Aaron Urban hit an RBI double and Austin Urban hit a sac fly to centerfield.

“We’ve been playing real good baseball and we hope to keep it rolling,” Ramson said. “We haven’t had many close games like that, so I think that will help us out and that it will help us moving forward.”

Contact Tim Grattan at 440-329-7207 or tgrattan@chroniclet.com. Follow him @Tim_Grattan77 on Twitter.

Firelands 5, Buckeye 4

Buckeye Firelands

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Caniglia 4 0 1 0 Au.Urban 4 1 0 1

Matras 4 1 1 0 Ransom4 0 2 1

Neel 4 1 0 0 Brill 4 1 1 0

Case 4 1 0 0 Stull 4 0 1 0

Wilson 3 0 0 0 Price 3 0 0 0

Meyer 2 0 0 0 Aa. Urban 3 1 0 0

Schnepp 1 0 0 0 Dennis 1 0 1 1

Imes 3 0 1 1 Mullins 3 1 1 0

Wright 3 1 2 1 Myers 3 0 0 0

Jeffery 3 0 0 0 Bayus 3 1 0 0

Totals 31 4 5 2Totals 32 5 6 3

Buckeye 011 002 0 — 4 5 1

Firelands 110 002 1 — 5 6 1

2B—Ransom 2, Mullins. SAC—Au. Urban. SB— Carey 2, Matras, Imes, Wright, Ransom, Stull. CS — Imes, Caniglia. LOB—Buckeye 5, Firelands 7.

IP R ER H BB SO

Buckeye

Priestly 6 4 4 3 7 11

Imes (L) 1 1 1 2 1 2

Firelands

Lacey 5 4 4 3 3 6

Brill (W, 3-1) 2 0 0 2 0 3

WP— Priestly, Lacey. PB— Brill. HBP—Caniglia (by Brill).



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