Sunday, May 20, 2001

District baseball championships

Humphrey homer wins it for West

By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Division I

        Ben Humphrey came to bat in the sixth inning, looking only to make contact.

        But Humphrey, a junior designated hitter for Lakota West, drilled the ball over the left center-field fence for a two-run homer, giving the Firebirds a 2-0 victory over Springfield North in a Division I district championship game at Midland Field Saturday.

        The victory advances Lakota West to the Division I regional semifinals Friday against Fairfield at Wright State University.

        “I struck out the first two times, and all I wanted to do was put my bat on the ball,” Humphrey said. “I think (North pitcher Nick Wagner) screwed up. He gave me a fastball, which I hit well.”

        Prior to Humphrey's blast, West pitcher Austin Rhoades drew a walk with one out.

        “The only thing that worried me was that it was a line shot,” Humphrey said. “I didn't watch it go over the fence, because I wanted to make sure I touched all the bases.”

        Rhoades struck out 11, giving up only three hits.

        “Austin had a good fastball and screwball today,” West coach Bill Driesbach said. “He's 11-0, and I knew it would be this type of game, because both pitchers are outstanding.”

        Reaching the regional semifinals is the best showing ever for a baseball team from Lakota.

        Spring. North ....... 000  000  0-0  3  0

        Lakota West ....... 000  002  x-2  3  0

        WP-Rhoads (11-0, 11 Ks). LP-Wagner (9-0). Hitting Leaders: LW-Humphrey HR, 2 RBI. Record: LW 23-7.

        • Fairfield 11, Moeller 4 — Brandon Grant, pinch hitting with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, came through with the most important hit of his career.

        On a 1-1 count, Grant drove the ball over the right-field fence, triggering a seven-run inning in a Division I district championship game at Midland Field.

        “The pitch was a chest-high fastball,” Grant said. “I knew when it left the bat, it was gone. I've only batted 37 or 38 times, and this was my third home run.”

        Indians coach Ralph Smith had praise for Grant.

        “I told Brandon that with him at designated hitter, it was like having a 10-man lineup,” Smith said. “I know he'd like to play more and I put him at first when Kevin (Ruhl) is pitching.”

        Senior pitcher Jason Bowling picked up the victory, with relief help from junior Bobby Nelson.

        “I play with a lot of the Moeller kids during the summer and know they like the fastball,” Bowlin said. “Today the curve was my best pitch, because it kept them off stride.”

        Fairfield will play Lakota West in the regional semifinals friday at Wright State University. They split two games in the regular season.

        Fairfield ....... 130  000  7—11  12  3

        Moeller ....... 001  010  2— 4   5  0

        WP—Bowlin (6-2). LP—Byrnes. Hitting leaders: F—Kinkaid 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Ingram 3-3, 2B, RBI; Grant HR, 4 RBI. M—Frietch 2-4. Records:F 23-4.

        • Hamilton 8, Troy 4 — Nate Mahon's 16th birthday is one the sophomore will remember a long time.

        Mahon went 4-for-4 and drove in five runs to lead the Big Blue.

        “It was definitely special playing on my birthday,” Mahon said. “Hamilton hasn't made it this far the last couple years, and to contribute was great.”

        Mahon singled in runs in the first and second innings and broke open the game in the fourth with two RBI on a ball that missed clearing the fence by about a foot, giving Hamilton a 7-0 lead.

        Through five innings, Hamilton starter Steve Polen was untouchable, allowing only one hit. But in the sixth, he walked two batters and hit another before being lifted by coach Dan Bowling. Nate Stewart finished the game.

        “We knew Nate was a good player, but I wasn't sure he could handle the No.3 batting posi tion,” Bowling said. “But when you have a good team, there's always someone who steps up like Nate.”

        Bowling's game plan was to be aggressive on the bases and throw Troy pitcher Brett Lavey off stride.

        “We had our batters step in and out of the box to throw off Lavey's rhythm,” Bowling said. “Although they threw a couple of our runners out, he paid too much attention to them.”

        Bowling set a goal for the team to score in every inning, and the Big Blue failed to push across a runner do so only in the sixth.

        Hamilton advanced to the regional semifinals at 5 p.m. Friday at Wright State University.

        Troy ....... 000  004  0-4   4  1

        Hamilton ....... 121  310  x-8  10  2

        WP-Polen. LP-Lavey. Hitting Leaders: Gedling 3-4, 2B; Mahon 4-4, 5 RBI; Wagers 2-3.

        • Elder 3, Clayton Northmont 0 — Elder starter Matt McCloy struck out eight, allowing three hits, and drove in a run with a sixth-inning double in a district championship game at Midland Field.

        Elder will play in the regional semifinals against Hamilton at 5 p.m. Friday at Wright State University.

        The game was scoreless after six innings. But with one out in the sixth, Elder's Richie Jones doubled off Steve Borek, and Bret Bolger was hit by a pitch.

        Each advanced a base on a botched pickoff attempt, and Craig Gates drove in Jones with a single. McCloy followed with a double to drive in the second run. Jones drove in the final run in the seventh inning with a single.

        Elder ....... 000  002  1—3  6  0

        Northmont ....... 000  000  0—0  3  0

        WP—McCloy (8 Ks). LP—Borek. Hitting leaders: Gates RBI; Jones 2-4, 2B, RBI; McCloy 2B, RBI. Records: E 22-6, N 21-5.

Division III

        • Mariemont 6, Oakwood 1, Division III district at Wright State University — Senior pitcher Adam Wilson scattered two hits and Joe Singler drove in three runs.

        Mariemont advances to the regional semifinals Friday in Hillsboro against Versailles, a 4-0 winner over Batavia.

        “One of the keys in the game was a great catch by Matt Weissman in the first inning,” Mariemont coach Jerry Summerville said. “From that point, it was pop-outs or groundouts.”

        The last time Mariemont appeared in the regional tournament was 1996, losing to Versailles.

        Mariemont ....... 100  030  2—6  10  1

        Oakwood ....... 000  010  0—1   2  0

        WP—Wilson (5 K's). LP—Lewis. Hitting leaders: M-Sunday 2-4; Dediemar 2-4, 2B; Fisher 3-4; Singler 2B, 3 RBI. Records: M 16-4.

        Versailles 4, Batavia 0, Division III district at Wright State University — The Tigers scored two unearned runs in the first inning and got dominating pitching from Matt Bruns.

        “Versailles scored two runs before they got a hit,” Batavia coach Bryan Anstaett said. “That's how poorly we played today.

        “We haven't been shut out all season, but Bruns kept us off balance the entire game. He's the best pitcher we've seen this season, and we've seen some good ones.”

        Batavia ....... 000  000  0—0  2  2

        Versailles ....... 200  020  x—4  3  0

        WP—Bruns. LP—Shepherd. Hitting leaders: B—Mullen 2B. V—Stausser 2B. Records: B 18-5, V 15-8.

        • Middletown Fenwick 1, Valley View 0, Division III district at Wright State University — Joe Kreke walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Graham Halcomb in the eighth inning to lift the Falcons.

Division IV

        • Cincinnati Country Day 2, Tipp City Bethel 1 — Pitcher Brett Smith drove in two runs and scattered two hits as CCD defeated Bethel for the District IV championship at Covington.

        The title is CCD's third in a row. Smith, a senior, hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to drive in Roman Duty, then singled in the sixth, again scoring Duty. On the mound, he struck out nine. In last year's championship game, Smith threw a no-hitter against Bethel.

        CCD 2, Tipp City Bethel 1

        CCD ....... 000  101  0—2  2  1

        Bethel ....... 000  000  1—1  2  1

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