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Home runs prove difference as Ironton falls in sectional

WHEELERSBURG — The numbers were the same, but they were far from equal.

Ironton’s Chad Miller and Wheelersburg’s Jordan Russell each pitched four-hitters, but two of the Pirates’ hits were home runs as they edged the Fighting Tigers 4-2 Friday in the Division III sectional finals.

“Chad pitched well, they just got two home runs to our one,” said Ironton coach Tobey Schreck. “Three of their four hits were off change-ups. They just guessed right.”

Miller, pitching on two days of rest after a complete game win on Tuesday, struck out five, walked two but hit three batters.

Russell fanned eight and walked just one.

Wheelersburg scratched out a run in the second inning with the aid of the game’s only error.

Dustin Cook walked on a 3-2 pitch and went to second base on an errant pickoff throw. After a ground out, he went to third base on a hit by Kyle Blevings.

Andrew Elliott then put down a squeeze bunt to score Cook.

The lead went to 3-0 with two outs in the third inning when Bryan White was hit by a pitch and Aaron Hopper hit a two-run homer.

Ironton (11-10) got within a run in the fourth inning on a two-run homer by Nick Lewis following a double by Miller.

“I said if I got a fastball I was going to hit it out,” said Lewis.

The Pirates got an insurance run in the fifth inning on a one-out solo home run by Adam Wamsley.

Ironton rallied in the seventh inning on a one-out walk to Lewis and a base hit by Jeremy Moore. But Wes Runyon hit a rocket to third base that the Pirates turned into a double play to end the game.

“We hit a lot of balls hard, we just hit them right at someone,” said Schreck.

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Chad Miller and Tanner Reed. Jordan Russell and Daniel Armstrong. W-Russell (8-K, 1-BB, 2-ER). L-Miller (5-K, 2-BB, 3-HBP, 3-R). SB-Ironton: Chad Miller; WB: Jordan Russell. Sac-WB: Bryan White, Andrew Elliott, Kyle Blevings. HR-Ironton: Nick Lewis; WB: Aaron Hopper, Adam Wamsley. Hitting-Ironton: Chad Miller 1-3, T.J. Keith 1-3, Nick Lewis 1-2 (2 RBI), Jeremy Moore 1-3; Wheelersburg: Wes Lyon 1-3, Adam Wamsley 1-3, Aaron Hopper 1-3 (2 RBI), Kyle Blevings 1-1.