Team effort sends Fairland into district finals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2003

RIO GRANDE -- If Fairland Dragons coach Roger Snyder plans to pass out "game balls" to the stars of the game, he'll need to buy another dozen baseballs.

Snyder credited a total team effort as Fairland rallied in the seventh inning to beat the Unioto Sherman's 4-3 Monday in the Division III district semifinals.

"We had a lot of heroes," Snyder said. "You can go up and down the lineup and just about everyone got a hit, made a play or made a catch. Guys made great catches like Matt (Clark) and (Joe) Zundel. And there were big hits in the last inning."

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Clark not only had a diving catch, but he also went 3-4 and drove in the tying run in the seventh. Pinch-runner Nolan Love scored the winning run on a two-out passed ball.

Michael Hill, who pitched a no-hitter in the sectional victory over Wheelersburg, got the win despite a sub-par performance. Hill struck out eight and gave up just five hits, but he issued seven walks.

"He wasn't sharp, but he battled," Snyder said of Hill.

Fairland, 19-3, will play Thursday in the district finals against the winner of Tuesday's game between Wellston and Federal Hocking. The game is schedule for 5 p.m. but could be earlier due to a schedule conflict with Fairland.

Federal Hocking was batting in the second inning with the score tied 4-4 when rain halted the game.

The Dragons got off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Cory McKnight walked, Hill was hit by a pitch, and Matt Clark's ground ball to third base created a force out at second, but the relay throw got away and McKnight came on to score.

The lead went to 2-0 in the top of the third when Hill singled and scored on Clark's double.

But Unioto tied the game in the bottom of the inning.

Cole Doughty walked and Chris Trainer drew a one-out walk. Trainer walked with Doughty going to third on a passed ball.

Nate Carver then hit a sacrifice fly and Steve Pflug and Jason Rose followed with blooping base hits to score Trainer with the tying run.

The Sherman Tanks took the lead with an unearned run in the sixth.

Rose walked to start the inning. Scott Lagard put down a sacrifice bunt attempt, but the ball

got past the first baseman and Rose came around to score.

But Fairland rallied in the top of the seventh after the first two batters were out.

Hill tripled to right-center and Clark singled to tie the game. Zacc Russell singled and Josh Moore reached on an error to load the bases, and a passed ball scored pinch-runner Nolan Love.

Hill retired the Shermans in the seventh although Pflug had a two-out single.

Pflug was 2-4 for Unioto (19-4).

Both teams squandered scoring opportunities. Fairland left eight runners on base and Unioto stranded nine.



Michael Hill and Adam Fuller. Chris Trainer and Scott Lagard. W-Hill (8-K, 7-W, 2 ER). L-Trainer (4-K, 2-W, 3 ER). WP-Hill 2. HBP-by Trainer (Michael Hill). PB-Fuller, Lagard. Sac-Unioto: Scott Lagard. SF-Unioto: Nate Carver. LOB-Fairland 8, Unioto 9. 2B-Fairland: Matt Clark, Andy Pittman. 3B-Fairland: Michael Hill. Hitting-Fairland: Cory McKnight 1-3, Michael Hill 2-3, Matt Clark 3-4, Zacc Russell 2-4, Josh Moore 1-4, Andy Pittman 1-4; Unioto: Cole Doughty 1-1, Chris Trainer 1-3, Steve Pflug 2-4, Jason Rose 1-3.