Sandusky American Legion Post 83 coach Bobby Palsa was having a little deja vu in the early stages of Wednesday's Region 3 elimination game.
Palsa's team couldn't get off the field in the first inning, surrendering four runs to Bucyrus. And the deficit grew to five after four innings.
Would it be a repeat of Tuesday's game with Galion-Mansfield?
Luckily, for Post 83: No.
Luke Fraley's (Perkins) inside-the-park grand slam in the sixth inning highlighted an eight-run inning for Sandusky, which staved off elimination with a come-from-behind, 9-8 win at Heidelberg University's Peaceful Valley Complex.
Sandusky's win sets up a rematch with Galion (21-8) in today's championship finals back at Heidelberg. Should Sandusky win today, a deciding game will be played at the same time and location on Friday.
“Things started off tough for us,” Palsa said. “We didn't make some plays defensively and we just didn't look to be in sync. But once Trevon Moore (Perkins) settled down, he shut (Bucyrus) down pretty much the rest of the way.
“The guys kept fighting the whole time,” he added. “Like Tuesday (a 16-5 loss to Galion in eight innings), we had guys on base in multiple innings. Finally, in the sixth inning, we put some hits together.”
Moore tossed eight innings for a team that needed an innings-eater, surrendering eight runs on 10 hits. He struck out two and walked four.
“I can't give Trevon Moore enough credit,” Palsa said. “He threw a lot of pitches today and I knew he was tired. He kept throwing strikes, though, and each time I asked him how he was, he kept saying, 'I'm good.' We needed him to go far. It's no secret we're hurting for pitching right now.”
Kyle Young (Perkins) recorded the save after getting into a bases loaded jam with no outs in the bottom of the ninth.
“Trevon (Moore) finally got in some trouble and brought in Kyle,” Palsa said. “We got a big double play on a ground ball, and then after they scored two runs to get within one, we got a fly ball to end the game.”
Young is slated to start today's game.
At the plate, Fraley finished 2 for 4 with four RBIs.
His bases-clearing hit got over the glove of Bucyrus' diving centerfielder, before rolling back towards the fence.
“That was huge,” Palsa said of Fraley's heroics. “Talk about a momentum changer in one swing of the bat. It felt nice to be on the other side of a big inning for once.”
Ryan Reed (Rossford) went 3 for 5 with an RBI, Devin Dubbert was 2 for 4 with three RBIs — all of which came on a sixth-inning triple — while he scored two runs.
Kyle Feyedelem (St. Mary C.C.) had two hits and scored a run, as did Trey Gluth (Port Clinton) and Jake Strayer (Bellevue).
“These guys aren't ready for their season to end yet,” Palsa said. “This is really going to be a battle (today). Galion is a good team, and we're hurting on pitching.
“(Today) is the big game,” he added. “If we can win that one, anything can happen Friday. Our goal all season was to play for a regional championship. We've hit that goal, now we're just two wins away from a regional championship.”
Port Clinton wins Region 1 opener
Runs and hits were plentiful for Port Clinton American Legion Post 113 in its Region 1 tournament opener on Wednesday.
Post 113 put up a five-spot in the first inning and opened up a seven-run lead after a four-run fourth, cruising to a 12-7 victory over Ottawa Post 63 in a game played at Ottawa-Glandorf.
Post 113 (22-12) will face Napoleon today in a winner's bracket final at 7 p.m. at Mercy Field in Toledo. Napoleon topped Maumee 7-1 in its opener.
“The kids played with a lot of energy, which was something we talked about coming in,” Port Clinton coach Robert George said. “We pride ourselves on being good fundamentally, and we struggled with some fundamentals today. But it felt good to compete and we're excited to be in this position.”
Port Clinton jumped out to 6-0 advantage after two innings, before Ottawa chipped its deficit to 6-3. Post 113 extended its lead to 10-3 with a four-run fourth inning.
Evelier Jimenez (Dominican Republic) and Clayton Farrar (Clyde) each scored three runs in the game. Farrar tallied two RBIs, along with the Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic trio of Marcus Kerr, Zach Yeckley and Bennett Weickert.
Clyde's Brett Combs scored two runs.
Ryan Myers (SMCC) was credited with the win, going 5 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on 12 hits, while striking out five.