Mountain#039;s clutch hit lifts Ironton to district title

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 24, 2003

McDERMOTT - Bases loaded. No outs. Bottom of the ninth. Score tied.

While everyone was held in suspense wondering what would happen, Greg Mountain was relaxed because he already knew the outcome.

Mountain was not surprised when his bases-loaded single drove in the winning run as the Ironton Fighting Tigers beat the Lucasville Valley Indians 4-3 in nine innings Thursday to win the Division III district championship.

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"I just knew it was coming," Mountain said of his hit. "I had good contact the whole game. I was just getting on top of it, so I made a couple of adjustments. That hit made my year."

It also made Ironton a regional qualifier. The Fighting Tigers (17-9) will face Indian Valley at 11 a.m. Friday in the regional semifinals at Veterans Stadium in Chillicothe. The regional finals are next Saturday at 1 p.m.

Mountain's hit brought an end to a game that lasted nearly three hours and saw 26 baserunners left stranded, 14 by Ironton.

But the Fighting Tigers finally cashed in with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Tyler Whaley singled to start the inning and Matt White drew a walk. Josh Sands attempted to sacrifice, but reliever Evan Yates started to go to third, then turned and threw to first base only to have Sands beat the throw and load the bases.

With the infield and outfield drawn in, Mountain lined a 2-2 pitch over the rightfielder's head scoring pinch-runner Dennis Gagai with the winning run.

"If we didn't get a hit in that situation, we were going to squeeze with the next batter," Ironton coach Mark Lewis said. "Mountain is a good hitter and we wanted to give him a chance."

Each team scored an unearned run in the first inning.

Jared Arnold reached on an error with two outs in the top of the first. Brandon Turner and Evan Yates walked to load the bases, and Adam Bell's soft grounder was thrown away for and error as the run scored.

In the bottom of the first, Kevin Williams singled and stole second. He scored when White's long fly ball to right field was dropped for an error allowing Williams to scored.

Ironton took a 3-1 lead in the second.

Jeff Parnell got a one-out base hit and Nick Collins tripled him home. Derek Moore's base hit to center scored Collins.

The Indians got a break in the third to score twice.

Wes Romanello doubled to start the inning when Chris Collins slipped an fell in right field on a routine fly ball. White retired the next two batters, but Turner singled home a run. Evan Yates walked and Adam Bill singled in the tying run.

Ironton had three major scoring threats fail.

After loading the bases in the fourth, Whaley hit a hard grounder right at Yates at shortstop who started a double play.

Williams tripled with two outs in the sixth only to be left stranded.

Chris Collins singled in the eighth, was sacrificed to second by Derek Moore, but Williams' line drive that appeared headed down the left field line was snagged by Arnold at third base to end the inning.

"They made some plays and we made some plays. Both teams made some moves and we both had a lot of opportunities. Our guys just stepped up big and we made the big play at the end," Lewis said.

Sands ( 4-1) got the win in relief as he struck out four and walked two. He allowed one hit.

White started and went 7-plus innings before leaving after throwing 125 pitches. He struck out three, walked six, gave up five hits, and only two of the three runs were earned.

White didn't mind working so hard and not getting the win.

"It was worth it. We got it done as a team," White said. "I had a little trouble early, but I got in the groove and my curveball started breaking."

Brandon Turner took the loss as Valley bowed out of the tournament at 16-8.



No outs when winning run scored.

Chris Hill, Brandon Turner (2), Evan Yates (9) and Logan Crabtree. Matt White, Josh Sands (8) and Greg Mountain. W-Sands 4-1 (4-K, 2-W, 1-H, 0-R). White 7-IP, 5-H, 3-R, 2-ER, 3-K, 6-W. L-Turner (6.2 IP, 1-R, 1-ER, 4-H, 4-K, 5-W). PB-Mountain. DP-Lucasville 4th. SB-Lucasville: Brandon Turner, Wes Romanello; Ironton: Kevin Williams, Derek Moore 2. Sac-Lucasville: Brandon Coriell; Ironton: Derek Moore, Josh Sands. 2B-Lucasville: Wes Romanello. 3B-Ironton: Nick Collins, Kevin Williams. Hitting-Lucasville: Wes Romanello 2-4, Jared Arnold 1-5, Brandon Turner 1-3, Adam Bell 1-3, Logan Crabtree 1-4; Ironton: Derek Moore 2-4 (RBI), Kevin Williams 2-3, Tyler Whaley 1-3, Greg Mountain 1-5 (RBI), Jeff Parnell 1-3, Nick Collins 1-3 (RBI), Chris Collins 1-4. LOB-Lucasville 12, Ironton 14.