Ironton grabs tourney win
The heart of the Ironton order was really pumping some fresh blood into the offense.
Steven Easterling, Aaron Stephens and Derek Battise combined for nine hits and six runs batted in as the Ironton Fighting Tigers beat the Coal Grove Hornets 9-4 on Wednesday in the Division III sectional tournament.
Stephens was 3-4 with three RBIs, Easterling also went 3-4 with two RBIs and Battise 3-3 with an RBI as Ironton collected 12 hits.
“Offensively, we hit the ball well and got some timely hits to drive in the runs. Our 2-3-4 hitters — Easterling, Stephens, Battise — came through for us tonight. Overall, it was a good win,” said Ironton coach Larry Goodwin.
Derek Battise got the win as he allowed just three hits.
“Derek did a good job despite not having his best fastball,” said Goodwin. “After the first time through their order, we realized Derek needed to rely on his secondary pitches to get outs.”
Ironton (10-8) jumped in front with a pair of runs in the first inning.
Luke Diamond walked, Easterling singled and Stephens and Battise each singled in a run.
The lead went to 5-0 in the second inning.
Diamond reached on a missed third strike. Easterling and Stephens singled for runs and Mo Phillips’ squeeze bunt scored Phillips.
Coal Grove (7-12) crept back into the game with three runs in the top of the third.
Jonathan Joseph walked and Alex Bare tripled him home. Bare scored on an error.
Mason Nance reached on an error and scored on a hit by Jesse Rigsby.
But Ironton answered with four more runs in the bottom of the inning.
Phillips and Hunter Klaiber walked and Trevor Easterling put down a sacrifice bunt. Korey Kellogg and Diamond followed with RBI singles.
Diamond stole second and Steven Easterling’s base hit scored the final run.
The Hornets final run scored in the fourth when Travis Carey doubled and scored on a ground out.
Ironton plays at Oak Hill on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. in the sectional finals.
Coal Grove 003 100 0 = 4 3 1
Ironton 234 000 x = 9 12 2
Josh Pierce and Jesse Rigsby. Derek Battise and Steven Easterling. W-Battise (K-0, BB-4, ER-1). L-Pierce (K-6, BB-5, HBP-1). 2B-CG: Travis Carey; Ironton: Steven Easterling, Derek Battise. Hitting-CG: Alex Bare 1-4 rbi, Jesse Rigsby 1-3 rbi, Travis Carey 1-3 rbi; Ironton: Luke Diamond 1-2 rbi, Steven Easterling 3-4 rbi-2, Aaron Stephens 3-4 rbi-3, Derek Battise 3-3 rbi, Trevor Easterling 1-2 rbi, Korey Kellogg 1-2 rbi.