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Flyers climb out of early hole to beat Waterford

St. Joseph starting pitcher T.J. Young delivers a pitch. The Flyers rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to beat Waterford 13-5 Thursday in the Division IV sectional tournament. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

The St. Joseph Flyers dug themselves a hole. Good thing Tanner Riley brought his shovel.

After falling behind 4-0 early, Riley helped fill the hole as he came on to shut down the Waterford bats and allowed the Flyers to rally past the Wildcats 13-5 Thursday in the Division IV sectional tournament.

“We dug ourselves a hole and then Cody (Blackburn) got on and made the pitcher throw from the stretch, he stole a base, forced a balk and that got us going and then we started playing the way we are capable,” said Flyers’ coach Greg Bryant.

“But we can’t keep digging ourselves a hole and try to dig out of it.”

Riley came on and threw the final 5.1 innings to get the win. He struck out 10, walked one and allowed three hits and the only run he allowed was earned.

“Tanner came in and just threw strikes,” said Bryant. “He did a great job of keeping them off-balance.”

St. Joseph (13-4) now plays Green at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Chillicothe Veterans Stadium. The Bobcats beat Western 11-1.

Waterford (4-12) took a 1-0 lead in the first and went up 4-0 in the top of the second.

The Flyers rallied to tie the bottom of the second.

Blackburn singled and stole second and Wateford starter Matt Negril walked Luke McGraw and Grant Geswein to load the bases.

Joseph Payton singled in a run, Payton Blair was hit by a pitch, Justin Mahlmeister hit into a force play at second to score a run but the relay throw to first base was wild and two more runs scored.

St. Joseph took the lead for good with two runs in the third.

T.J. Young singled, Blackburn was safe on an error and Levi Hopkins put down a sacrifice bunt. Young stole home for the lead and then McGraw squeezed home Blackburn.

The lead went to 8-4 in the fourth inning when Payton walked and Mahlmeister drilled a two-run homer.

The Flyers blew the game open with five runs in the sixth.

With one out, Blair was safe on an error, stole second and scored on a Mahlmeister’s base hit.

Mahlmeister stole second, Riley singled him to third and then stole second. Young singled home a run and stole second. Blackburn reached on an error as Riley and Young scored.

Blackburn stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Hopkins walked and stole second and Blackburn scored when the next batter struck out but the catcher dropped the ball and threw to first base.

Riley went 3-4 while Blair, Young and Mahlmeister all went 2-4 as the Flyers had 11 hits.

Waterford 130 000 1 = 5 8 3

St. Joseph 042 205 x = 13 11 3

Matt Negri, Casey Branham (4) and Koty Flesher. T.J.Young, Tanner Riley (2) and Justin Mahlmeister. W-Riley (IP-5.1, K-10, BB-1, H-3, ER-1). L-Negri (K-1, BB-3, H-5, R-8, ER-5). 2B-Waterford: Brad Kerns, Levi McCutcheon, Josh Moore. HR-St. Joseph: Justin Mahlmeister. Hitting-Waterford: Brad Kerns 2-4, Levi McCutcheon 2-3, Kelly 1-4, Branham 1-2, Matt Negri 1-4, Josh Moore 1-3; St. Joseph: Payton Blair 2-4, Justin Mahlmeister 2-4, Tanner Riley 3-4, T.J. Young 2-4, Cody Blackburn 1-4, Joseph Payton 1-2.