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Ironton Senior League stays alive in state tourney

ASHTABULA — In the words of the Bee Gees 1970s hit, the Ironton Senior League is “Stayin’ Alive.”

Facing a win-or-go-home game, the Ironton Senior League All-Stars beat the Miami All-Stars 4-1 Wednesday to advance to the state tournament championship bracket Thursday against Berlin Hiland at 3 p.m.

If Ironton wins, a second game will follow. Thursday’s game is a rematch of Tuesday when Ironton lost 12-10 to Hiland. Ironton must win twice and Hiland only once in the double-elimination tournament.

Tommy Waginger, T.J. Young and Kyle Dickess combined to toss a three-hitter to help keep Ironton’s state title hopes alive.

“(The pitchers) carried us today,” said Ironton manager Chuck Price. “Defensively we handled things better. Tanner (Riley) made a nice catch over his shoulder that was one of the best plays I’ve seen.”

Miami got a run in the bottom of the first inning but Ironton took the lead with three runs in the fourth inning.

Wayne Sparks doubled to start the inning and Riley had a bloop double. Sparks was unable to score but Waginger then tripled to score both runners and give Ironton the lead. Young followed with a sacrifice fly and the lead was 3-1.

Ironton threatened in the fifth when Jonathan Williams had a one-out double and Jake Murphy walked, but both were left stranded.

Miami put together a threat in the sixth when the first three batters reached. After two walks, Dickess came on and gave up a base hit to load the bases.

Dickess then got a pop out and then threw out a runner at home on an attempted squeeze play. The next batter hit a pop fly to shortstop to end the inning.

“That was the key inning,” said Price.

Dickess hit a one-out solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to give Ironton some extra breathing room.

Waginger was 2-3 with two RBIs and Riley also went 2-3 as Ironton had eight hits.

Jake Murphy was 0-1 but walked three times. He has walked 10 times and been hit by a pitch twice in the four state tournament games.

Ironton 000 300 1 = 4 8 1

Miami 100 000 0 = 1 3 1

Tommy Waginger (2-H, 1-K, 1-BB, 1-ER), T.J. Young (3), Kyle Dickess (5) and Jake Murphy. Kane and Hessford. W-Young (2-IP, 0-H, 0-R, 0-K, 3-BB). Save-Dickess (3-IP, 1-H, 0-K,0-BB). L-Kane. 2B-Ironton: Jonathan Williams, Wayne Sparks, Tanner Riley. 3B-Ironton: Tommy Waginger. HR-Ironton: Kyle Dickess. Hitting-Ironton: Kyle Dickess 1-4 rbi, Jonathan Williams 1-4, Wayne Sparks 1-4, Tanner Riley 2-3, Tommy Waginger 2-3 2-rbi, T.J. Young 1-2 rbi; Miami: McCleese 1-2, Smith 1-2, Drockner 1-2.