Ironton wins thriller to take sectional title

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 16, 2004

PORTSMOUTH - Given their history this season, the Division III sectional tournament championship game between the Ironton Fighting Tigers and Portsmouth Trojans figured to be a thriller.

It was.

In the two previous meetings this season, Ironton won 4-3 and Portsmouth won 8-7. History repeated itself Friday in the sectional finals as Ironton pulled out a 7-6 win in eight innings.

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"We're both pretty evenly matched. We both had our chances, we were just able to make a play or two more than they did," Ironton coach Mark Lewis said.

Josh Sands got the win with some clutch relief pitching. Randall Scott went the distance for Portsmouth but suffered his second tough-luck loss to the Fighting Tigers.

"Sands wasn't as sharp as he has been, but he battled and showed some grit," Lewis said. "Scott threw well for Portsmouth. I thought he got better as the game went on."

Ironton scored the winning run in the top of the eighth.

Brigham Waginger beat out a slow roller to shortstop, then stole second base and went to third on a passed ball. Kevin Williams hit a hard ground ball into center field for a base hit to score Waginger.

Portsmouth threatened in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, Drew Howard singled. After a fly out, Billy Payne and Derek Wales walked to load the bases. But Sands got Scott to pop out to shortstop and end the game.

Portsmouth took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Billy Payne after Drew Howard singled and Andrew Newman doubled.

The Fighting Tigers tied the score in the second inning when Nick Collins singled and Dustin Preston doubled off the screen above the center field wall.

Ironton took the lead with three runs in the third inning.

With one out, Josh Sands singled and Patrick Kouns homered to left.

"I didn't think I hit it that good. It just kept going," Kouns said.

Nick Collins then walked, moved up on a ground out, stole third, and scored when Brigham Waginger got caught in a rundown.

The lead went to 6-1 in the top of the fourth inning.

Chris Collins beat out an infield roller to open the inning. A throwing error on Williams' ground ball scored Collins and sent Williams to second. Williams came around to score on ground outs by Adkins and Dennis Gagai.

Portsmouth got three runs back in the bottom of the inning on a bases loaded triple by Randy Phipps following a hit batsman, an error, and a bunt single.

The Trojans tied the game in the fifth inning.

Howard hit a lead off triple and scored on a wild pitch. After a strikeout by Sands, Payne and Wales walked and Scott had a two-out single.

Ironton (13-9) will play district favorite Lucasville Valley at 5 p.m. Monday at McDermott Northwest.



Josh Adkins, Josh Sands (5) and Dustin Preston. Randall Scott and Greg Swords. W-Sands 3-3 (2-K, 5-W, 1-R, 1-ER, 4-H, 2-WP). Adkins 5-R, 4-ER, 5-H, 4-K, 0-W. L-Scott (5-ER, 11-H, 7-K, 5-W, 1-WP). PB-Swords 2.

SB-Ironton: Nick Collins, Chris Collins, Patrick Kouns, Brigham Waginger; Portsmouth: Billy Payne, Drew Howard. 2B-Ironton: Dustin Preston. 3B-Portsmouth: Randy Phipps, Drew Howard. HR-Ironton: Patrick Kouns. SF-Portsmouth: Billy Payne. Sac-Portsmouth: Jacob Llewellyn. Hitting-Ironton: Kevin Williams 2-4 (rbi), Dennis Gagai 1-5 (rbi), Josh Sands 2-5, Patrick Kouns 2-4 (2 rbi), Nick Collins 1-2, Dustin Preston 1-4 (rbi), Brigham Waginger 1-3, Chris Collins 1-4; Portsmouth: Drew Howard 3-5, Andrew Newman 1-4, Randall Scott 1-5 (rbi), Jon Chandler 1-3, Randy Phipps 1-4 (3 rbi), Greg Swords 1-4.