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Ironton Senior League settles for runner-up spot

ASHTABULA — Some things just aren’t meant to be.

For the second straight year, the Ironton Senior League All-Stars came up one game short as they finished runners-up in the state tournament Thursday.

Needing to win twice, Ironton beat Hiland 8-5 in the first game to set up the final game showdown for the title. But Hiland got a strong pitching performance and slipped past Ironton 4-1.

“They got some breaks and made some plays. That’s baseball,” said Ironton manager Chuck Price.

“But I’d take this team anywhere. There was no quit in them. You can’t ask any more out of those kids. They gave it everything they had.”

In the first game, Ironton scored three times in the top of the first inning.

Jonathan Williams walked, Kyle Dickess was hit by a pitch and Wayne Sparks walked to load the bases. Tanner Riley hit a sacrifice fly for the first run and Tommy Waginger followed with a two-run single.

Ironton got a run in the third inning when Dickess singled, went to third on an errant pickoff throw and came home on a sacrifice fly by Sparks.

But Hiland tied the game with four runs in the bottom of the inning with the aid of a balk.

In the fourth, Jake Murphy and Williams walked and Dickess had an RBI double. Sparks grounded out as pinch-runner Tyler Kratzenberg scored. Riley hit his second sacrifice fly and Ironton took the lead for good at 7-4.

Ironton got a run in the sixth inning to take an 8-4 lead.

Murphy singled but was thrown out trying to score on a double by Williams. However, Dickess followed with a base hit to score Williams.

Hiland pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh and had runners at first and second, but Williams retired the next batter to end the game.

In the second and deciding game, Hiland scored early and held on to beat Ironton.

“We had some chances but couldn’t get the key hit. We had a lot of line outs and some ground balls we hit hard, but we hit the ball right at them and they’re a good team and they made the plays,” said Price.

Hiland scored three times in the second inning on a triple by Grant Troyer and a balk. They added a run in the third to lead 4-0.

Murphy, Ironton’s regular catcher, was injured on a play at the plate in the second inning rally and was forced to leave the game.

Ironton got its only run in the fourth inning when Williams singled, Dickess reached on a fielder’s choice and Sparks singled to load the bases. Waginger hit into a fielder’s choice as the run scored.

Price not only appreciated the fan support, he thanked his assistant coaches, too.

“My coaches Jeff Linn, Joe Waginger and Patrick Mahlmeister did one heck of a job and they’re greatly appreciated,” said Price.

“We had great support from the families and fans. We drove over five hours and you’d have thought we were the host team with the support we had. We had people here who didn’t have any family ties to the players.”

First Game

Ironton 301 301 0 = 8 8 1

Hiland 004 000 1 = 5 5 2

Kyle Dickess (3-IP, 4-R, 0-ER, 2-BB, 2-K), Jonathan Williams (4) and Jake Murphy. Luke Burch, Brady Schlabach (4) and Hayden Mobley. W-Williams (4-IP, 1-ER, 3-H, 3-BB, 3-K). L-Burch. 2B-Ironton: Kyle Dickess, Jonathan Williams; Hiland: Mobley. Hitting-Ironton: Jake Murphy 1-2 (2-BB), Jonathan Williams 1-2 (2-BB), Kyle Dickess 3-3, Wayne Sparks 2 rbi, Tanner Riley 1-1 2-rbi, Tommy Waginger 2-4 2-rbi; Hiland: Luke Burch 1-4, Nicky Yoder 1-3, Danny Beachy 2-3, Hayden Mobley 1-3.

Second Game

Hiland 031 000 0 = 4 5 0

Ironton 000 100 0 = 1 4 0

Luke Beachy and Hayden Mobley. Wayne Sparks, Tanner Riley (4) and Jake Murphy, Justin Mahlmeister (2). W-Beachy (3-K, 1-BB). L-Sparks (3-IP, 4-ER, 3-H, 2-BB, 3-K). Tanner Riley 4-IP, 1-HBP, 0-BB, 1-K, 2-H. 2B-Hiland: Hayden Mobley. 3B-Hiland: Grant Troyer. Hitting-Hiland: Yoder 2-4, Hayden Mobley 1-3, Ryan Troyer 1-3, Grant Troyer 1-3; Ironton: Jonathan Williams 1-3, Kyle Dickess 1-3, Wayne Sparks 1-3, Howie Lucas 1-2.