The Chargers lost 3-1 on a gloomy day at Oberlin College — the artificial turf infield enabled the teams to get the game in — after nearly stringing together an improbable seventh-inning rally.
Sailors starting pitcher Ridge Clark, who shut out Edison earlier this season, was cruising toward his seventh win in eight decisions when Edison made Vermilion earn it.
With two out and nobody on, Jadon Hanson worked a walk. Caden Cooper followed with a towering double to left-center to score Hanson. Caleb Bissell walked, bringing cleanup hitter Cooper McIntyre to the plate with the potential tying run on base. McIntyre struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
"It shows the character of our guys,” Edison coach Sean Hoover said. “To be able to get in that spot with the tying run on and your 4-hitter up, I think you’ll take that most days in a game like this.”
The loss dropped Edison to 13-5, 7-2 in the Bay. The Chargers are now tied with Huron in the loss column while Vermilion sits alone in first at 8-1 (13-6 overall).
Edison is scheduled to host Huron at noon today, weather permitting. The winner will be alone in second place and will need some help to win a share of the league title.
“We got to make sure we don’t hang our heads,” Hoover said. “We’ve been playing well and I’m happy with how we battled back. We put up a lot of zeroes after they got a couple runs in the second inning. Caden threw really well and put up a lot of zeroes. We need some help, but we have to do our job.”
Cooper struck out eight batters, matching Clark. The two have played on the same summer travel team and hugged after the game, which was delayed a week by weather, then moved to Oberlin because Vermilion's field was too soggy.
“The game was what it was built up to be,” Vermilion coach Jeff Keck said. “Two good teams going at it, two good pitchers going at it. We were just fortunate to make a few more plays and score a couple runs to get a lead. It’s easier playing with a lead when you know you’re not going to give up many runs.
“The Cooper kid pitched a great game; he’s a great kid. Coach Hoover and his kids battled till the end.”
Vermilion’s defense came up with timely plays to keep Edison in check. In the top of the fourth, Bissell singled and McIntyre walked. After trying to bunt the runners over, Jacobee Kessler hit a two-strike grounder up the middle. Vermilion shortstop Mason Montgomery fielded it, stepped on second and threw to first for an easy double play.
“We had our bunt coverage on so I was kind of already up the middle,” Montgomery said. “I went in and attacked it and was standing on top of the base and had an easy throw to first.”
Montgomery made another huge play in the top of the seventh. With one out, Luke Bissell, the Chargers’ No. 9 hitter, smoked a line shot up the middle. Clark got a glove on it, deflecting the ball. Montgomery put on the brakes, retrieved it and fired to first. First baseman Reese Miller made the putout with a nice scoop of the low throw.
“I thought I was going to make a play up the middle,” Montgomery said. “All of a sudden my direction changed and at that point it’s a do-or-die play and I had to bare-hand it and throw it over there. I trust Reese; whatever I throw he’s going to get. He made a great scoop.”
“He made that play going to his right and Reece scooped it,” Keck said. “That was a big play. They’re four-year starters and I’ve watched them do that many times. Fortunately they can.”
The next three Edison runners reached safely, but Vermilion’s three-run cushion proved to be enough.
“They put the ball in play a little bit, but our team was there to make some pretty difficult plays and help me out,” said Clark. “You feel like you can throw it over the plate and no matter where they hit it the defense is going to make plays.”
The Sailors finished with seven hits with Clark leading the way with two singles. Sam Herron’s two-out RBI double that scored Montgomery in the bottom of the sixth proved to be an important insurance run.
Edison had five hits, three of which didn’t leave the infield. Cooper and Bissell each had two hits.
Edison 000 000 1 — 1 5 1
Vermilion 020 001 x — 3 7 0
WP: Ridge Clark; LP: Caden Cooper
2B: (E) Cooper; (V) Sam Herron