Leopards Erupt in the 12th at Canton South to Clinch NBC Outright – Baseball
Louisville 18, Canton South 9, 12 Innings
The Louisville Leopards Varsity Baseball Team rallied from a 6-run deficit 36 days earlier against the home Canton South Wildcats at Louisville’s Field of Dreams. The game was suspended due to darkness on an evening where the median temperature was 39 degrees.
The game resumed Saturday with partly cloudy skies and 75 degree weather at Canton South’s Tim Miller Field. The Leopards erupted for 9 runs in the 12th inning to complete their quest for an Outright League Championship in their final game as a member of the Northeastern Buckeye Conference. Louisville won the game 18-9 to improve to 21-7 on the season and finish 13-1 in the conference. This is the 5th time LHS has won the NBC Outright in the 7 titles they have captured for the league overall.
The game resumed Saturday tied 9-9 with the Leopards batting in the top of the seventh with 2 outs, a 2-2 count, and a runner on third. The 5 week cliffhanger ended as the first pitch was a called strike three that ended the Louisville threat.
Nine straight scoreless frames followed. LHS Pitcher Cam Lingle pitched five of those innings, retired Canton South in order three times, surrendered just a single hit, and struck out 7. He faced a 2 on, 2 out jam in the 8th and struck out the next hitter to keep the Leopards journey alive. Lingle continued to keep the Wildcats at bay in retiring 9 of the next 10 hitters to take the game into the 12th.
Louisville’s Jordan Shearer tripled on a fly ball to left field to open up the 12th inning. With no outs, Canton South elected to intentionally walk the next two batters. The Wildcats took simliar action early in the eight and were successful in getting out of a 1-out bases loaded jam. The script changed this time around as the move backfired in a colossal way.
After a pop out, Max Hartline walked on 5 pitches to bring home Shearer for the go-ahead run. Then Davis Burick blasted a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence for a Grand Slam to rip the game wide open at 14-9. The homer run was Burick’s third of the season matching Bryce Zuppe for the team-high on the year. The Leopards have collectively put 9 over the fence this season.
With only 1 out, Louisville would remove all doubt in adding 4 more insurance runs to their total. Caleb Prasco, Carter Rode, and Shearer all singled to load the bases. Zuppe cleared them out with a 3-run triple to center field to pull the Leopards ahead 17-9. Zuppe had a monster game finishing 3-for-6 with a pair of triples, 6 RBIs, and 4 runs scored. His fourth run came two pitches later when Cam King singled him home to cap off the 9-run inning that saw the Leopards record 7 hits and bring 13 to the plate.
Eddie Budinski came in to work the bottom of the 12th. He surrendered a walk to start the inning, but retired the final Canton South hitters in order. A 5-3 groundout from third baseman Dillon Rebuck to first baseman Prasco kickstarted Louisville into a celebration for their first Outright NBC crown since 2011.
36 Days earlier, the Leopards put together an improbable rally to tie the game and force it into suspension. Louisville trailed 8-2 at the end of five innings despite not allowing a single Canton South hit to that point. The Leopards would score 5 in the sixth and 2 in the seventh to knot the game at 9-9 before it was called due to darkness.
The first three Louisville batters walked to start the sixth inning. A pair of wild pitches allowed Rebuck to score from third. Then in the next at-bat, Zuppe smashed a 2-run triple to right field scoring Jackson Kandel and Dom Mongiardo to cut the deficit to 8-5. A few batters later, Hartline cracked a 1-out 2-run double to right bringing home Zuppe and Lingle to trim the Wildcat lead to 8-7.
Six errors and 10 walks plagued the Leopards early on as they fought through the 30-degree conditions with some snow and sleet mixed in. Despite all that, Louisville pitching held the Wildcats hitless through 5 2/3 innings. Cam Stahl broke-up the no-no with an infield RBI single that scored JC Philippi to make it 9-7 in the bottom of of the sixth. This was one of just two hits Canton South had in the game with Philippi singling in the eighth for the only other.
The game entered the seventh and the Leopards undefeated NBC record look to be fading just as the light was fading from the sky. Prasco led off the inning with a 5-pitch walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Austin Cummings. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and then to third after a groundout. Then Kandel worked the count full before drawing a walk. Suddenly the tying run was on first.
A passed ball three pitches later allowed Cummings to score and Kandel to advance to second in cutting the South lead to 9-8. After a pop out, Zuppe delivered a clutch 2-out single to center scoring Kandel from second to complete the comeback and tie the game at 9-9. Zuppe stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball that made the count 2-2. The next pitch wouldn’t come for over a month later.
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UP NEXT: The Louisville Baseball Team will next travel to Canal Park to take on the Norton Panthers in the DII Akron District Semifinals on Tuesday, May 15 at 7:00 PM.
VARSITY BASEBALL BOX SCORE
LEOPARDS 18, WILDCATS 9, 12 INNINGS
Canton South 110-151-000-000–9-2-3
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BASEBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BASEBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS
CANTON SOUTH WILDCATS BASEBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS
CANTON SOUTH WILDCATS BASEBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS
Records: Louisville 21-7, 13-1; Canton South 8-16, 4-9
JV: Louisville 19, Canton South 0, 5 Innings (April 6)
JV BASEBALL BOX SCORE
LEOPARDS 19, WILDCATS 0, 5 INNINGS
Canton South 000-00–0-1-5
CANTON SOUTH WILDCATS BASEBALL JV BATTING STATS
CANTON SOUTH WILDCATS BASEBALL JV PITCHING STATS
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BASEBALL JV BATTING STATS
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BASEBALL JV PITCHING STATS