CEDARVILLE — A Cedarville fan and a Xenia Legacy Christian fan were watching the visiting Legacy runners round the bases while racking up five early runs against the Indians.
“That’s a great start for your guys,” the Cedarville fan said.
“Yeah, but this is high school baseball. Anything can happen,” the Legacy fan said.
The No. 11 seed Cedarville Indians (6-15) spotted 14th seeded Legacy Christian (9-8) five runs in the second inning, then took the lead for good with eight runs of their own in the third, on their way to a 10-6 win, in Monday’s May 8 first round of the Division IV high school sectional baseball tournament, at Cedarville High School.
Legacy chased Cedarville starting pitcher Keith Gnau with those five runs in the second inning. The visiting Knights sent 10 batters to the plate, and five of them smacked hits with David Kensinger and John McCaskey both knocking in two runs apiece. Eric Uszynski had the other RBI, with Austin Frueh, Ian Oliver, A.J. Warner, McCaskey and Uszynski scoring.
The Indians responded by sending 12 batters to the plate in the third, with Alex Zaage and Gnau both knocking in two runs. Zaage, Gnau, C.J. Pahl, Andrew Pollander (twice), Joey Lewis, Sam Allex and Mason Cross all scored.
Cross also took over on the mound and was dominant. The Indian righty limited Legacy Christian to three hits for the rest of the game, and struck out nine.
“The game’s never over whenever that happens,” Cedarville coach Andy Pauling said. “We kinda took the strategy of trying to get through the first two innings. Then with bringing Mason (Cross) in to finish the game, I figured that if we could get the lead we’d have a chance.
“I didn’t think that they’d score five runs, though. Luckily, we were able to come back. … Once Mason came in, they weren’t going to hit him, so that worked out pretty good.”
Reminiscent of other losses coach Scott Pickens has seen from his Knights, Legacy created too many errors. And those errors led to three of Cedarville’s runs — mostly due to throwing errors, where a Knights player had attempted a pick-off throw, only to have the ball sail into the outfield instead.
“When they lose, they give it away. They beat themselves like that,” Pickens said. “Throwouts. Hustle plays you just don’t make. Heads up baseball plays that don’t get made. Missed balls here. And there. … That’s what gets ya. I don’t know how many errors we had, but I know there were too many of them.”
John Lusk, Oliver, Will Ewing, Warner, Kensinger, Frueh, Tyler Castle and McCaskey each played their final high school games for the Knights. Pickens said the eight seniors established … a legacy… at Legacy.
“Every single one of them has been an inspiration to someone on the team,” Pickens said. “Every one of them played with a lot of heart, beyond heart. Two of them will probably receive all-league honors. … I can’t say enough good things about each of them. They’ve been great leaders, and I wish I could bring them back.”
Cedarville advances to Wednesday’s second round of the sectional tournament. Second seeded Pleasant Hill Newton (20-2) will host the Indians at 5 p.m. Wednesday May 10.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.