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Bellevue falls to Clear Fork in district semifinals

By JOSH BURRIS • May 18, 2018 at 3:08 AM

TIFFIN — The seedings played out quite different.

The Bellevue baseball team came up short in Thursday’s Division II district semifinal, losing to Clear Fork, 4-1, on Thursday at Heidelberg University’s Peaceful Valley Complex.

Lexington and Bellevue entered as the top two seeds and ranked in the state coaches poll in the district, but it’s the No. 7-seeded Colts and No. 4 Ontario playing in Saturday’s championship.

All four of Clear Fork’s runs came on six hits in the fourth inning, but it ended up being enough to push the Colts past the Redmen (18-4).

Senior Jalen Sheriff got the win for the Colts in a complete-game effort, allowing one run on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Senior Mitchell Wells suffered the loss for the Redmen. He also pitched the entire game, allowing four runs on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks.

Senior Bryce Ray collected three of Bellevue’s four hits, going 3 for 4 with a triple, two singles and the only Bellevue run.

Bellevue coach Andy Dennings gave Sheriff credit for his work on the mound, saying his pitching was the reason the Redmen could not do any damage at the plate.

“He (Sheriff) was fastball heavy, we just didn’t do what we needed to do squaring balls up," he said. "It really comes down to that. We didn’t have a whole lot of chances. And when we did, we just didn’t take advantage of it.”

Bellevue got on the board in the first inning. Ray led off with a triple and then scored on a groundout by Dalton Hay.

After going hitless in their first three innings, the Colts exploded for four runs in the fourth. The Colts put together five singles and also took advantage of a Bellevue error to go up 4-1 in the fourth.

Bellevue had another shot to get on the board in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and just one out. However, a shallow line out and a flyball out kept the baserunners from advancing.

Dennings said he believes the Redmen exceeded a lot of people’s expectations this season.

“It was a great season,” he said. “I don’t think too many people expected us to be here with one returning full-time starter and a couple other kids that seen a little time up here, to be a sectional and league champions. I’m proud of them. It’s been a great year.”

Dennings said they gave a lot of effort during the season and in the game, but that they just came up short against Clear Fork.

“They competed again today, and we won a lot of tight ball games,” he said. “I give the kids a lot of credit. That’s a lot of mental fortitude and a lot of high-character kids; kids that just don’t quit. And unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough today.”

Clear Fork will face Ontario in the district championship game on Saturday at Heidelberg. Ontario has won 23 straight games entering the matchup, including a pair of wins over the Colts.

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