Barnesville 'walks off' to Division III regional finals with 3-2 win over Fredericktown
NEW CONCORD — Pitching dominated the action for 11 innings of Friday's Division III regional semi-final match-up between Barnesville High and Fredricktown at Muskingum University's Mose Moorehead Field.
Finally in the 12th inning, the two squad's offenses made some noise and fortunately the 'Rocks were just a little louder with a walk-off 3-2 victory to advance on to the Division III Regional championship game against Minford on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
"That's just this team all year, they just don't ever quit," Barnesville head coach D.J. Butler explained. "That is a very, very good Fredricktown team we played. And we got down a run there in the top of the 12th, and the just came in and said we're going to do it."
"I just have a lot of confidence in these guys," Butler added. "I just can't be more proud of these kids. There is just no quit in this group and it's been a fun ride and we keep to keep playing."
Deadlocked at 1-1 entering the top of the 12th, the Freddies were finally able to get a run off Barnesville junior Kason Powell, who had worked four scoreless inning in relief of starter senior Ayden Hannahs.
Luke Bean coaxed a lead-off walk off Powell, and was promptly sacrificed into scoring position at second base on a perfect bunt from Ty Hatfield. Following a fly ball out from Brady Lester for the second out in the frame. Caleb Sheriff drew another base on balls to put a pair of runners on base with two outs.
Needing a two out hit to convert the scoring opportunity, that's just what Fredricktown clean-up hitter Trevor Jones delivered with an RBI base hit to left field to plate Bean with the go-ahead run at 2-1.
Needing a rally to keep the season going, the 'Rocks went to work with steady lead-off man Ayden Hannahs jumpstarting the bottom of the 12th with a double down the right field line for a double.
Junior Jeremy Hunkler followed with an infield single that advanced Hannahs over to third base with still no outs. Senior Jake Edwards then was able to bring Hannahs home with the tying run at 2-2 with a hard ground ball to second base.
On the play, Hunkler provided what Butler called the key play of the game by using just pure hustle to advance all the way over to third base on Edwards' ground out with the potential winning run.
With Hunkler now standing at third with one out, Fredericktown was forced to emply some solid strategy by intentionally walking both Gavin Carpenter and Kyvan Johnson to load the bases to set up a potential inning-ending double play.
That brought up junior designated hitter Logan Shepherd who has struggled with an 0-for-5 day with a pair of strikeouts. But Shepherd quickly put all that in the past and came through in the clutch by muscling a Kaid Carpenter pitch into short left field for the game winning RBI and the walk-off 3-2 victory.
"Something that may go unnoticed is Jeremy Hunkler hustling all the way over to third on Jake's ground ball to force them into intentionally walking the next two guys to load the bases for us," Butler explained. "So that's something that might get overlooked but that was a huge play in the game."
"That play forced them to load the bases for us," Butler continued. "And Logan had a tough day, but like these guys do...he didn't quit and got the job done with a huge hit. I just could not be prouder of all of them. Not we're going to get on the bus and head to Lancaster and find us a room and get ready to tomorrow"
Powell collected the win for Barnesville, with a solid five innings of relief work allowing just the one run on four hits with four Ks and four walks.
"It was just a close game and I tried to just come in and throw strikes," Powell offered. "That was the key, getting ahead and throwing strikes."
Ayden Hannah turned in an impressive six and two thirds innings of work before turning things over to Powell. Hannahs surrendered just one run two hits in his outing, finishing with six Ks, six walks and one hit batter.
"I feel pretty good with our pitching going into tomorrow, Jake Edwards will start and then we will have Gavin Carpenter and Logan Shepherd behind him," Butler stated. "Both Ayden and Kason were just outstanding today, they kept us right there until we were able to finally break through."
Barnesville who improves to 23-7 with the victory, finished with 10 hits in the D-II regional semi-final victory, with Ayden Hannahs leading the way with a double, single and also pulling off a steal of home in the first inning for the 'Rocks first run of the game.
"That was all Ayden on that play," Butler said. "He said coach I think I can make it. I just said Ayden just make sure you can get there. We don't want to make an out there with a runner on third. And he said I got it and he made it work."
Carpenter added a double single and Johnson collected a pair of base hits. With Shepherd racking up the game winning RBI single.
Fredricktown (24-6) collected just six hits off the Barnesville pitching dup of Hannahs and Powell with Hatfield ripping a double, single with an RBI for the Freddies.