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Plymouth falls to Crawford in district semifinal

By JOSH MORGRET • Updated May 22, 2019 at 9:43 PM

GALION — It seemingly took everything Plymouth had.

The Big Red pushed across two runs to tie the game in the fifth inning.

Colonel Crawford was not having any of it.

The Eagles responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning and went on to take a 6-3 victory in a Division IV district semifinal at Galion's Heise Park on Wednesday.

"The ball just did not fall our way today," Plymouth coach Jake Strayer said. "We put the ball in play. We made them make plays. The ball just did not fall our way today. They had some hits when they needed them - timely hits."

The Big Red fell to 12-11. Plymouth was the defending champion of the district.

"I have three seniors," Strayer said. "One is going to be a doctor, one is going into the military, and one gets up at 4:30 a.m. to go to work and then school. They are not going to find a better senior class than the one we have. It is not just about baseball. They are good people. I will have those three as people lead my team every year."

Anthony Montgomery singled to lead off the fifth inning before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Walker Elliott. Luke Hamman then reached on an infield single, but the throw to first was errant, allowing Montgomery to score. After Peyton Young was hit by a pitch, Camden Welch singled into left field, tying the game.

But, Colonel Crawford (21-7) had the answer. Plymouth pitcher Treven Lane opened the inning with a strikeout, but Cade Hamilton ripped a triple — his third hit of the game — to immediately give the Eagles an opportunity.

Travin Fairchild added a bunt single before a wild pitch score Hamilton. Gavin Feichtner followed with a run-scoring double for a 4-2 lead. The Big Red opted to intentionally walk a pair of batters, loading the bases. But, another walk to Dylan Cooke brought in a run and an and to Lane's day.

"That was very deflating," Strayer said. "It is one of those situations where you think you have everything going your way. One thing happens, two things happen, and the air is out of the balloon."

Freshman Zeth Goth recorded a strikeout to end the frame and Plymouth got a run back in the sixth inning. Goth reached on an error and after two strikeouts, Elliott reached on an error to bring in a run. Colonel Crawford pitcher Brayton Burkhart responded though, inducing a groundout by Hamman to halt the damage.

The Eagles got the run right back in the bottom of the sixth. Goth got two quick outs before Fairchild walked. Feichtner followed with a single and Daylen Balliet singled to score a run.

Lane led off the seventh with a double, but he advanced no further as Burkhart finished off the complete game victory.

"Burkhart kept us off balance," Strayer said. "Early on, he was pounding the outside of the plate and we were trying to pull everything. He used that to his advantage. He made the pitches he needed to make."

Colonel Crawford did not wait long to strike. Hamilton led off the first inning with a single. He stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored when Feichtner grounded out.

Elliott finishes the season with 55 stolen bases, good for eighth most in a season in Ohio history.

"It’s incredible," said Strayer of the junior. "That is in just 23 games. We did not even get a full season in and he has 55 steals. There for a while, our offense was Walker gets on, Walker steals second, Walker steals third, and Luke hits Walker home. He made things happen."

Burkhart struck out 10 while allowing seven hits and three runs. He threw 111 pitches.

"He is a machine," Colonel Crawford coach Dan Gorbett said. "He is fine no matter what. He is a real battler."

Lane allowed five runs in six hits. He walked five and struck out four.

"That kid gets up and goes to work at 3:45 or 4:30 a.m. every day," said Strayer of Lane. "Then he goes to school and comes to play baseball. He has not complained once about it. He is a grown man and honestly, I can not ask anymore than what he has given us."

Plymouth     000 021 0 — 3 7 2

C. Crawford 101 031 x — 6 8 5

WP: Burkhart. LP: Lane

2B: (P) Welch, Lane; (CC) Ritzhaupt, G. Feichtner. 3B: (CC) Hamilton.

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