Baseball Falls to McKinley in 7th Inning of Sectional
Canton McKinley 4, Louisville 3
The #10 Seed Louisville Leopards Varsity Baseball Team fell to the visiting #11 Seed Canton McKinley Bulldogs 4-3 in the DI Canton Sectional Semifinals Wednesday Evening at the Field of Dreams. With the loss, Louisville drops to 11-14 on the season.
Nick Harsh batted 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI hits and a run scored to lead the Leopards. Brock Haren hit a 2-out double and Harsh singled him in for the first run of the game in the third inning. Later on in the fifth, Harsh singled in Haren again with 2 outs to knot the game at 3-3.
The Bulldogs threatened with runners aboard in the sixth inning, but a wild 6-3-4 double play ended the frame. Louisville Shortstop Stephen Kerzan fielded a ground ball and threw it to First Baseman Isaac Mathie. Mathie made the putout and then alertly threw down to second base. Leopards Second Baseman Brody Hahn tagged out the McKinley runner that had taken too big of a turn toward third.
Tyler Adams bunted aboard to start the bottom half of the sixth for Louisville. Kerzan followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Adams to second. However, two fly outs would end the inning with the score still deadlocked at 3-3.
The Bulldogs snatched the lead back in the seventh inning. Xavier Smith reached base on an error, Elijah Nash singled to left field, and Karlynn Lewis drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Smith would score two pitches later on a passed ball. The Leopards limited the damage thanks to Kerzan ringing up two batter. The score remained 4-3 heading in to the last of the seventh.
However, it took just 5 pitches to end Louisville’s tournament run. McKinley Pitcher Fred Moore would throw from his knees to get the second out and then also fielded a grounder for the game-ending out. Moore pitched a complete game, gave up 3 earned runs on 6 hits, and struck out 3 to earn the win. Moore also led the Bulldogs offense by batting 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Leopards Starting Pitcher Paul Howard (3-3) pitched 6 innings gave up 0 earned runs on 4 hits, and struck out 3. Jake Adams also hit an RBI double in the third inning to give Louisville a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
McKinley rallied back for two runs in the ensuing fourth inning and took the lead at 3-2 in the fifth inning. Tanner McNickle and Smith each had RBIs for the Bulldogs. Nash also batted 2-for-3 with a run scored.
This was McKinley’s first victory over Louisville since an 8-3 win back on April 20, 1996. The Leopards had won 7 straight meetings against the Bulldogs coming into the game. Prior to Wednesday, McKinley had not won at Louisville since an 8-2 win back on May 6, 1991. The Leopards are now 2-3 in tournament play since joining Division I in 2014. LHS is now 14-9 in home tournament games all-time as well.
The Bulldogs are now 8-17 on the season. They will venture to Jackson on Thursday to face the top seeded Jackson Polar Bears in the DI Canton Sectional Finals at 4:30 PM.
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next host the Minerva Lions on Thursday, May 12 at 5:00 PM for Senior Night. JV will play at Minerva during the same time.
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VARSITY BOX SCORE
BULLDOGS 4, LEOPARDS 3
Canton McKinley 000-210-1–4-5-0
CANTON MCKINLEY BULLDOGS BATTING
CANTON MCKINLEY BULLDOGS PITCHING
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BATTING
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS PITCHING
Records: Canton McKinley 8-17; Louisville 11-14