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Dragons rout Rockets

CHILLICOTHE — When the other team threatens, who ya gonna call? Rally buster.

Just when the Wellston Golden Rockets made their move, Fairland pitcher Nate Burcham slammed the door and the Dragons went on to a 10-0 five-inning win to claim the Division III district title.

Trailing 5-0, Wellston threatened in the fourth inning when Ryan Darnell singled, Jeff Matteson hit a ground-rule double and Derrick Loudermilk was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Burcham struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Fairland scored five runs in the next inning to end the game.

“Their pitcher did a pretty good job early. The key part of the game was the fourth inning. If they score there, it’s a tight ball game,” said Fairland coach Roger Snyder.

Burcham allowed just two hits and retired Wellston in order three times. After a two-out walk to Matt Lockard in the first inning, he did not allow a baserunner until Ryan Darnell singled in the fourth.

During that span Burcham struck out six batters. He finished with 11 strikeouts and just the one walk.

“Burcham was on today. When he throws strikes and keeps it down, he can be awesome,” said Fairland coach Roger Snyder.

Fairland (17-1) will advance to the regional tournament at Paint Stadium in Chillicothe on Thursday against Indian Valley in the 2 p.m. game. The other semifinal game is at 5 p.m.

Wellston finished 20-8.

The game was scoreless until the third inning when the Dragons pushed across a pair of runs.

Chad Fisher singled and scored on Cole Hatfield’s double. Tyler Thackston followed with an RBI single.

Fairland scored three more runs in the fourth inning.

Tyler Godby doubled, Adam Berry beat out an infield hit and Burcham put down a squeeze bunt. Matt Campbell singled home Berry and took third on an error. He scored on a passed ball.

The Dragons applied the mercy rule in the fifth inning.

Zach Matasich doubled, Godby had an infield hit and Berry singled home a run.

Burcham walked but Fisher hit into a fielder’s choice. Hatfield got an infield hit and Robbie Easterling had a two-run double. Ethan Long’s RBI single capped the rally.

Wellston 000 00 = 0 2 4

Fairland 002 35 = 10 13 0

Ryan Darnell, Jeff Matteson (5) and Derrick Loudermilk, Ryan Darnell (5). Nate Burcham and Tyler Godby. W-Burcham (11-K, 1-BB, 1-HBP). L-Darnell (4 IP, 7-R, 5-ER, 10-H, 4-K, 1-BB). 2B-Wellston: Jeff Matteson; Fairland: Cole Hatfield, Robbie Easterling, Zach Matasich, Tyler Godby. Hitting-Wellston: Ryan Darnell 1-2, Jeff Matteson 1-2; Fairland: Chad Fisher 1-4, Cole Hatfield 2-4, Robbie Easterling 1-3, Tyler Thackston 1-3, Zach Matasich 2-3, Tyler Godby 2-3, Adam Berry 2-3, Matt Campbell 1-3, Ethan Long 1-1.