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Hot Stove baseball: North Ridgeville Rangers, Wellington Snap-On win in Class G, head back to state tournament

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    Wellington Snap-On starting pitcher Max Schatz fires the ball toward home against Medina in a Class G regional final Sunday, July 14, 2019, at Palmer Field in North Ridgeville. Wellington won to make it back to the state tournament.

    ANDREW DOLPH / CHRONICLE

  • Wellington-baseball

    Wellington Snap-On second baseman Jack Senghas makes the grab as Medina's Luke McCool steals second in a Class G Hot Stove regional final Sunday, July 14, 2019, at Palmer Field in North Ridgeville.

    ANDREW DOLPH / CHRONICLE

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NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Back to Alliance.

That was the theme for two Lorain County Class G Hot Stove teams Sunday in regional final action at a sultry Palmer Field.

North Ridgeville’s Rangers and Wellington Snap-On Tools both used big innings in the 11-12-year-old age group to earn return trips to this weekend’s state finals at Butler-Rodman Park in Alliance.

The Rangers were a 14-4 winner over a scrappy Medina Swarm Green in six innings while Snap-On held off Medina Swarm Black 18-10. North Ridgeville (22-1) will take on Alliance American Legion on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the state semifinals, while Wellington (19-1) meets the Champion Indians on Saturday at 11:30.

North Ridgeville’s seven-run third inning proved to be the huge difference. Medina Green had stunned the Rangers with a pair of first-inning runs but North Ridgeville bounced back with a pair of two-run innings before putting the game on ice by sending 12 batters to the plate in the third to pull ahead to stay at 11-2.

“Give all the credit to the kids,” Rangers manager John Flesher said. “I’m just out here guiding them. On the basepaths, they were very aggressive. Really proud of the kids.”

Starting pitcher Andrew Flesher, the coach’s son, felt he might have been too amped up to start. After the two runs scored, he picked off a runner at third and struck out the next two hitters. For the game, he fanned eight and didn’t allow a walk.

“I just had to slow down,” he said. “I guess I just wanted to get the game done and over with. I had to take a deep breath, slow down and just do my thing.”

Flesher doubled and stole third to start North Ridgeville’s seven-run uprising. For the game, the Rangers stole 13 bases and stretched a number of hits into extra bases in keeping Medina on its heels throughout the game.

North Ridgeville catcher Mitch Waugaman did as much defensively just keeping the ball from getting away from him as he did offensively by gong 3-for-4 with three RBI’s.

“I try to block everything,” Waugaman said. “I try to help my pitchers out. We’ve won two other state championships. I’m happy to be going back.”

“Unsung heroes, who don’t necessarily always hit, were hitting the ball and crushing it,” Fletcher said. “That’s what you need in this kind of game. You can count on that one through five or six but when it gets down to seven, eight, nine and those guys are coming through for you, it’s big.”

Brendan Watchorn delivered three hits and drove in three runs from his spot at the bottom of the order. Charlie Steinmetz and Sean Murphy each had a pair of hits, as well.

“I just make sure I hit in the gaps and not pop out and hit a ground ball,” Watchorn said. “I’m excited about (going to Alliance).”

Wellington jumped on Medina for 12 runs in the second inning and may have taken its foot off the gas a little too early. Medina sliced the lead to just 15-10 at one point before Snap-On snapped back with a three-spot in the seventh to put the game away once and for all.

“Usually we have an inning or two like that in a game,” Wellington manager John Kinter Sr. said. “That’s Wellington baseball. That’s what we expect out of those kids. All the other stuff happened and kind of sucked us right out of it.”

Kinter said some close calls that went against his team may have caused his players to lose focus for a couple of innings when Medina chipped away at the lead.

Wellington led 13-2 after its explosion but Black scored two runs in the second, two more in the third and added four in the fourth to make things a little dicey down the stretch for Wellington. A two-out, three-run rally in the top of the seventh seemed to get Snap-on back on track.

“The dugout got alive,” John Kinter Jr., the coach’s son, said. “It gave us more energy and our hitters started hitting a lot.”

Grank Kehl got things going when he reached on a passed ball third strike with two outs. After Kehl stole second, Preston Cochran delivered an RBI single past the shortstop. Kinter Jr. then singled and Brandon Bachman drove both runners home with double to center.

Bachman went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs.

“We got back in the groove,” Bachman said. “I think we got a little too confident.”

“You might not remember but you guys put (Bachman) in the newspaper last year because he hit a grand slam in the regional final,” Coach Kinter said.

Kinter Jr. pitched the final two innings and didn’t allow any more runs. He delivered a pair of triples early in the game and had three hits in five trips, driving in four.

“I’d like to take credit for it, but he’s just a good athlete,” Kinter Sr. said. “He likes big games. He came in and closed it down the last two innings (Saturday) and the county championship (earlier in the week). I’m very proud of his effort.”

Connor Sheppard added two hits and two RBIs for Snap-On.

Wellington lost in the state semifinals a year ago. The players are hoping for a better result this time around.

“It feels good to get back,” the younger Kinter said. “This time we want to win.”

Contact Tim Gebhardt at (440) 329-7135 or at timothygeb@msn.com.

Sunday’s Results

Class I (ages 7-8)

Midview Maniacs 13, Black River Maple Run 11

Olmsted Falls Bulldog Gold 9, North Ridgeville Ogres 8

Olmsted Falls Bulldogs White 16, North Ridgeville Raptors 5

Class HH (9)

North Ridgeville Corntown Crushers 17, Amherst Quality Door 10

Midview Maniacs 8, Wellington Harrison Ford 3

North Ridgeville Tracy’s Karate 12, Grafton Thomas 8

Alliance Traps 12, Buckeye Miller Farms 10

Class H (9-10)

Black River Red Maple 10, Amherst Rebels 5

Wellington Regulators 21, Firelands Radman 3

Class GG (11)

Buckeye Tonio’s Pizza 25, Buckeye Mellion Ortho 13

Stratton Chevrolet vs. Medina Swarm Black (no result posted)

Class G (11-12)

North Ridgeville Rangers 14, Medina Swarm Green 4

Wellington Snap-On Tools 18, Medina Swarm Black 10

Class F (13-14)

North Ridgeville Rebels 14, North Ridgeville Gladiators 13

Cloverleaf Colts 14, North Olmsted Killeen Kia 8

Midview Maniacs 16, Medina Swarm Green 8

Class D (19 and up)

Alliance 15, Wellington 2

Saturday’s Results

Class I

North Ridgeville Ogres 14, Buckeye John’s Rigging 11

Olmsted Falls Bulldogs White 9, Avon 8

Black River Red Maple Run 9, Buckeye Rusty Oaks 5

Midview Mavericks 18, Fairview Park Warriors 4

Olmsted Falls Bulldogs Gold 15, Grafton Branham Auto 7

North Ridgeville Raptors 17, North Ridgeville Scorpions 9

Class HH

North Ridgeville Tracy’s Karate 12, Grafton Thomas 8

Alliance Traps 12, Buckeye Miller Farms 10

Class H

Black River Maple Run 6, Olmsted Falls Bulldogs Gold 5

Amherst Rebels 23, Vermilion Sailors 13

Firelands Radman 17, Sheffield Venom 2

Wellington Regulators 21, Fairview Park Warriors 3

Class GG

North Ridgeville Bandits 13, Sheffield Cardinals 12

North Ridgeville FTC 16, Buckeye A New Image 6

Class G

Wellington Snap-On 17, Cloverleaf Colts 5

Medina Swarm Green 15, North Olmsted M.K. Auto 7

Medina Swarm Black 10, Lorain Bulldogs 4

Class F

North Ridgeville Gladiators 26, Sheffield Pavers 4

Cloverleaf Colts 11, Midview Middies 1

North Olmsted Haleen Kia 16, Firelands Falcons 5

Medina Swarm Green 12, Black River Scrapers 1

Midview Maniacs 22, North Olmsted BW Holtz 4

Class E (17-18)

SWB Homeworth 4, Lorain Titans 3

North Ridgeville Gladiators 8, Sheffield Venom 5

Class D (19 and up)

Buckeye Dolata Reality 7, Buckeye Seaway 0



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