Tourney road ends

Published 3:17 am Friday, May 29, 2009

CHILLICOTHE — The two worst enemies of any baseball team are walks and errors.

The Fairland Dragons must have thought they were up against an army of mistakes at the Division III regional semifinals Thursday at Memorial Stadium.

The Dragons were guilty of five errors and 10 walks in an 11-5 loss to the Indian Valley Braves.

“When you make five errors and walk as many as we did, you’re not going to beat a good team. Indian Valley was a good team. They hit the ball well against our two best pitchers,” said Fairland coach Roger Snyder who ended his coaching career with the game.

“I can’t imagine we were intimidated, but I thought we were tight. We haven’t played this poorly all season. It’s frustrating.”

Robbie Easterling and Nathaniel Burcham combined to allow nine runs — six were earned — along with 11 hits, seven walks and three wild pitches. Cole Hatfield worked one inning and walked three but was the victim of two errors that led to a pair of unearned runs.

The Braves Johnny Lacobucci went four innings to get the win. Adam Mizer finished.

Indian Valley (24-2) got a long double to center by Matt Wheeler to start the bottom of the first inning.

Logan Gray was safe on the Dragons’ first error as Wheeler scored. Lacobucci hit into a force play, but Logan Cozart drew a two-out walk and Zach Baker singled to make it 2-0.

The Braves pushed across three more runs in the second inning.

Alex Knecht doubled, Wheeler singled and a wild pitch scored a run. Lacobucci singled home a run and scored on a double by Bobby Hall.

The lead went to 7-0 in the third inning on two walks, RBI singles Lacobucci and Gray, a wild pitch and an error.

Lacobucci retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before the Dragons began to zero in and generated a three-run rally in the fourth inning to get within 7-3.

Hatfield and Easterling had back-to-back doubles to start the inning and then Tyler Thackston drew a walk.

An out later, Tyler Godby singled to center for a run and Matt Campbell’s two-out infield hit scored Thackston.

But the Braves got the two runs back in the bottom of the inning on a walk to Mizer, Knecht’s base hit, a wild pitch and a two-run single by Gray.

Fairland scored again in the fifth on singles by Hatfield and Easterling and a sacrifice fly by Thackston.

The Dragons got within 9-5 in the top of the sixth when Godby doubled and Adam Berry reached on an error.

An error and two walks loaded the bases for the Braves in the bottom of the sixth. Lacobucci hit what looked like a force out at home only to have the ball thrown away allowing two runs to score and the lead was 11-5.

Easterling had a two-out single in the top of the seventh before Mizer got Thackston on a deep fly ball to centerfield to end the game.

The loss ended an impressive 17-2 season for the Dragons who won the Ohio Valley Conference title as well as sectional and district championships.

“I told our seniors they had a great years. We just didn’t finish it strong,” said Snyder.

“This group of seniors had 60-some wins in four years. You’d like to get that out of every group. They battled back and made a game of it, but when you get to the regionals and you don’t play well, you go home.”

Indian Valley plays Wheelersburg on Friday in the regional finals.

FAIRLAND (17-2)

Player ab r h bi

Chad Fisher cf 4 0 0 0

Cole Hatfield ss 4 2 2 0

Robbie Easterling p 4 1 3 1

Tyler Thackston 1b 1 1 0 1

Zach Matasich 2b 3 0 0 0

Tyler Godby c 3 1 2 1

Tanner Sowards pr 0 0 0 0

Adam Berry lf 1 0 0 0

Nathaniel Burcham p 2 0 0 0

Javier Roe rf 0 0 0 0

Matt Campbell dh 2 0 1 1

Chris Ward lf 2 0 0 0

Ethan Long ph-lf 1 0 0 0

Totals 27 5 8 4

INDIAN VALLEY (24-2)

Player ab r h bi

Matt Wheeler rf 4 3 2 0

Logan Gray 2b 4 1 2 3

Johnny Lacobucci p 5 2 2 2

Zane Shuss pr 0 0 0 0

Bobby Hall 1b 3 0 2 0

Logan Cozart ss 2 0 0 0

Mike Smith lf 0 0 0 0

Zach Baker dh 4 0 1 1

Andy Allensworth c 3 0 0 0

Adam Mizer 3b 3 2 0 0

Alex Knecht cf 3 3 2 0

Totals 32 11 11 7

Fairland 000 311 0 = 5 8 5

Indian Valley 232 202 x = 11 11 1

DP-IndianValley. 2B-Cole Hatfield, Robbie Easterling, Tyler Godby, Matt Wheeler, Alex Knecht, Bobby Hall. SF-Tyler Thackston. Sac-Zach Baker. SB-Bobby Hall.

FAIRLAND IP H R ER SO BB

Robbie Easterling, L 1.1 5 5 3 1 1

Nathaniel Burcham 3.2 6 4 3 5 6

Cole Hatfield 1.0 2 0 0 0 3

INDIAND VALLEY

Johnny Lacobucci, W 4 4 3 3 5 3

Adam Mizer, S 3 2 1 4 2 0

WP-Easterling, Burcham 2.