Zuppe’s Extra Inning Walk-Off Sends Leopards to 1st District Championship Since 2009 – Baseball

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#2 Louisville 4, #6 Norton 3, 9 Innings

The #2 Seed Louisville Leopards Baseball Team rallied for a 4-3 extra inning win over the #6 Seed Norton Panthers in the DII Akron District Semifinals Tuesday Night at Canal Park. With the victory, Louisville improves to 22-7 overall and advances to play the top seeded, defending state champion Tallmadge Blue Devils in the District Championship on Wednesday, May 16 at 5:00 PM. 

's Sports - Go Leopards Baseball ShirtBryce Zuppe hit a 2-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to send the Leopards to their first District Title game since 2009. Earlier in the inning Dillon English hit a 1-out single to left. Then, with the hit and run on, Max Hartline singled on a line drive to right field, but English was thrown out at third by a great throw from Panthers Right Fielder Andrew Kozak for the second out. Zuppe stepped into the box and swung and missed the first pitch. However, Hartline swiped second and then advanced to third on an overthrow.

Zuppe would foul off an 0-2 pitch to stay alive before blasting a deep fly ball to center field scoring Hartline from third. Hartline flipped his helmet into the air, Zuppe did the same, and then the entire bench mobbed Mr. Clutch in joyous pandemonium.

The game did not generate such happiness early on. The Leopards failed to record a hit until the fifth inning as they fell behind 3-0 when Norton put together a 3-run third inning. Parker Hray singled home Kozak to break the deadlock. Then Hray came home on a sacrifice fly by Ben Hornacek. A few pitches later, Ben Aiken tripled to right field scoring Clayton Borrelli from second.

Following that triple, both teams struggled to get runners aboard. The next 12 hitters, counting both squads together, were all retired in order. Cam Lingle broke the spell with a double on a line drive to right field, which was also the first Louisville hit of the contest. Two batters later, English lined a single to left field knocking in Lingle to get the Leopards on the board.

Louisville would tack on another run in the sixth inning that started with Zuppe out-hustling the throw on a ground ball to second for an infield hit. Zuppe reached second on Cam King’s groundout and then advanced to third when Davis Burick reached base on an error. Zuppe then came home on Caleb Prasco’s sacrifice fly to right field cutting the deficit to 3-2.

Facing elimination, the Leopards put two on with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. Lingle walked and pinch-hitter Justin Blyer poked a perfectly placed infield single into no man’s land on the right side of the infield. English then bunted to sacrifice the runners over into scoring position. Next, the Panthers intentionally walked Hartline to load the bases and create a force out at home. 

After a strikeout, King stepped in and hit an 0-2 pitch to the third baseman. The throw to first would have been close and the fielder elected to swipe a tag at Blyer advancing from second to third. The swipe missed its mark, everyone was safe, and Lingle scored to tie the game at 3-3 to keep the Leopards alive. Norton got out of the jam without any further damager, but Louisville’s relief pitching refused to let the Panthers score again.

Jordan Shearer worked on 1-2-3 seventh inning and then struck out the side in the eight inning. Lingle came on to pitch the ninth inning and retired the first two Norton batters. He surrendered a single to Kozak on the next pitch but looked to get out of the inning getting the next batter to ground out. Only the ensuing throw the first went awry. Kozak wound up on third and the batter John Cline advanced to second. After working a 3-1 count, the Leopards intentionally walked Hray to load the bases. The next batter hit a promising line drive to shallow left field, but King dived forward to make a leaping stab to get Louisville out of the jam. The Leopards offense would do the rest in the bottom of the frame.

Starter Andrew Gray pitched 6 innings, gave up 3 runs on 8 hits, and struck out 8. Shearer struck out 4 in two innings of work and Cam Lingle earned the win to improve to 3-0 on the season.


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UP NEXT: The Louisville Leopards Baseball Team will next challenge the #1 Seed Tallmadge Blue Devils in the DII Akron District Championship on Wednesday, May 15 at 5:00 PM from Akron’s Canal Park.

Game Photos

Cover Photo By  Jim & Laura Photography Website

View & Purchase Louisville Leopards Game Photos on the  Jim & Laura Photography Website

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DISTRICT SEMIFINAL BOX SCORE

LEOPARDS 4, PANTHERS 3, 9 INNINGS

Team 123-456-7–R-H-E

Norton 003-000-000–3-9-2

Louisville 000-011-101–4-7-1

NORTON PANTHERS BASEBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS

LineupABRHRBIBBSO
Parker Hray411112
Clayton Borrelli512001
Ben Hornacek300102
Ben Aiken401102
Donovan Hodges401001
Zach Whitney000000
Bret Baker401000
Steven Cruz401000
Andrew Kozak412002
John Cline300002
Evan Cefalo
Luke Bosley
Totals35393112
Batting

3B: Ben Aiken 
TB: Ben Aiken 3, Andrew Kozak 2, Donovan Hodges, Parker Hray, Steven Cruz, Clayton Borrelli 2, Bret Baker 
RBI: Ben Aiken, Parker Hray, Ben Hornacek 
SAC: John Cline 
SF: Ben Hornacek 
ROE: John Cline 
FC: Steven Cruz 

Totals

Team QAB: 23 (60.53%) 
Ben Aiken 3, Andrew Kozak 3, Donovan Hodges, Parker Hray 3, John Cline 2, Steven Cruz 4, Clayton Borrelli 3, Bret Baker 2, Ben Hornacek 2 

Team LOB: 8

Fielding

E: Ben Aiken, Ben Hornacek 

NORTON PANTHERS BASEBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS

PitchingIP#PS%HRERSOBBHR
Luke Bosley7.084.714432220
Evan Cefalo1.229.655310100
Totals8.2113.699742320
Pitching

HBP: Evan Cefalo, Luke Bosley 
WP: Luke Bosley 
Pitches-Strikes: Evan Cefalo 29-19, Luke Bosley 84-60 
Groundouts-Flyouts: Evan Cefalo 0-2, Luke Bosley 5-14 
First pitch strikes-Batters faced: Evan Cefalo 4-7, Luke Bosley 21-30 

LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BASEBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS

LineupABRHRBIBBSO
Bryce Zuppe512101
Cam King400100
Davis Burick300000
Caleb Prasco200100
Austin Cummings000000
Dillon Rebuck400000
Cam Lingle321010
Jack Davis300001
Justin Blyer101000
Dillon English302100
Jackson Kandel100001
Max Hartline211010
Andrew Gray
Jordan Shearer
Totals3147423
Batting

2B: Cam Lingle 
TB: Justin Blyer, Dillon English 2, Max Hartline, Cam Lingle 2, Bryce Zuppe 2 
RBI: Dillon English, Cam King, Caleb Prasco, Bryce Zuppe 
SAC: Dillon English 
SF: Caleb Prasco 
ROE: Davis Burick 
FC: Cam King 
HBP: Davis Burick, Caleb Prasco 
SB: Max Hartline 
PIK: Austin Cummings 

Totals

Team QAB: 17 (45.95%) 
Davis Burick 2, Jack Davis 2, Dillon English 4, Max Hartline 2, Cam King, Cam Lingle 3, Caleb Prasco 2, Bryce Zuppe 

Team LOB: 6

Fielding

E: Cam Lingle 

LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BASEBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS

PitchingIP#PS%HRERSOBBHR
Andrew Gray6.099.697833800
Jordan Shearer2.025.640000400
Cam Lingle1.015.600100010
Totals9.0139.6769331210
Pitching

BK: Andrew Gray 
Pitches-Strikes: Andrew Gray 99-69, Cam Lingle 15-9, Jordan Shearer 25-16 
Groundouts-Flyouts: Andrew Gray 4-5, Cam Lingle 1-2, Jordan Shearer 1-1 
First pitch strikes-Batters faced: Andrew Gray 19-26, Cam Lingle 4-6, Jordan Shearer 2-6 

Records: Louisville 22-7

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