Akron, OH - Two teams converged on Canal Park with one goal in mind on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The Kenston Bombers, fresh off their 4-2 victory over Chaminade Julienne Friday morning took on the Ontario Warriors, who defeated the Washington Court House Blue Lions 2-1 to advance following the Kenston game. For the Bombers, it was Nikko Georgiou taking the bump looking to duplicate the stellar outing he had a week prior in the Regional Final. The Warriors countered with Peyton Dzugan.
The scoring got started early, with Warrior leadoff hitter Colten Ramion leading the game off with a single. Jayden Leach would follow with a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner. A passed ball would enable Ramion to advance to third and a Gage Weaver sacrifice fly to center would put the Warriors on the board.
Kenston would get on the board with a big 2nd inning. A Tommy Pecoraro walk would lead off the inning. Parker Munday laid down a sacrifice to move Pecoraro into scoring position with Nikko Georgiou due up. Georgiou helped his own cause with an RBI single to left field. Next up was Bridger Bischof who would send a frozen rope down the left field line for a double, plating Georgiou and giving the Bombers a 2-1 lead. 9 hole hitter Grant Beclay would follow with a suicide squeeze, bringing Bischof home for the 3-1 lead.
The score would remain 3-1 through 4 and a half innings, before the Bombers would tack on another run in the 5th when Jimmy Cerha grounded out to 2nd, scoring L.A. Mighton who led off the 5th with a triple to right field.
Following yesterdays 4-2 victory, I asked coach Joe Hritz if we'd be in for another 4-2 Kenston victory (their victories in the regionals were both by a score of 4-2 as was their semi-final victory).
Coach said, "As long as they were the one with the 4 in that scenario he'd be fine with that."
In the top of the 6th, the Warriors would attempt to mount their comeback. Jayden Leach would lead off the frame with a single, followed by a Gage Weaver hit-by-pitch, and the Warriors had their best chance to get back in the game since Kenston took a lead in the home half of the 2nd. Carter Weaver would come up and send a bouncer to the left side. Jimmy Cerha corralled the grounder as Leach was running past him to go to third. Cerha would reach out to try to tag the lead runner but was unsuccessful, resulting in a bases loaded, no out situation. A Carter Walters single would plate 2, shrinking the Bombers lead to one, still with nobody out.
Georgiou would get Jake Chapman to fly out to Parker Munday in shallow center, keeping the runners on 1st and 2nd. The Bombers hurler would get the next two hitters to go down on strikes, escaping the threat and letting out a loud yell and fist pump as he made his way to the 3rd base dugout to lead off the 7th.
The Bombers were not able to get any insurance in their half of the 7th, with 2 ground outs to lead off the inning before a Grant Beclay 2 out single. Carter Flynn would fly out to left to end the inning.
In both regional match-ups and in the semi-finals, coach Hritz rode the starters through the game, and the finals would be no different if he had his way, so to the bump Nikko Georgiou would go to start the 7th. Warrior pitcher Peyton Dzugan would lead off the 7th with a single and Colten Ramion would lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance Dzugan into scoring position. Jayden Leach would follow with a sinking liner to 2nd that Tommy Pecoraro would make a diving catch on, flipping it to Carter Flynn covering 2nd to end the game with a double play.