Hornets drop heartbreaker

Published 3:16 am Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jim Walker



CHILLICOTHE — The Coal Grove Hornets played “at ‘em” ball.

The Hornets hit the ball hard but right at the Minford fielders as they suffered a tough 4-3 loss to the Falcons on Tuesday in the Division III district semifinals at Paint Stadium.

“We played well. We hit the ball hard the whole game but right at someone. We only struck out twice,” said Hornets’ coach Dean Mader.

“Our pitchers did a great job on one day of rest. We were on the brink of a win. It could have gone either way.”

Coming off a 9-5 nine inning win on Sunday that saw both Chase McKnight and Daniel Rutherford pitch, the two came back and nearly pulled off the upset against the Falcons.

McKnight went 4.2 innings before tiring. He struck out four, walked two, gave up four hits and one earned run.

Rutherford finished and took the loss. He struck out four, walked two, all0wed two hits and three runs — two earned.

Eric Cook went six innings for the win while Alex Powell got the save.

The game was scoreless until Minford got a run in the bottom of the fourth.

With one out, Jared Alley doubled, Aron Alley walked and Matthew Gullett singled to center to drive in the run.

Coal Grove answered with two runs in the top of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead.

Sam Angelo and Cole Gannon singled to start the inning. A pickoff error allowed the runners to move up a base and they scored on Daniel Rutherford’s two-out base hit to right.

The Falcons came right back to regain the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, Shawn Mersiel and Eli Daniels walked and Aron Alley had an RBI single. Daniels went to third on the hit and scored on a balk.

Minford got what proved to be the winning run in the sixth.

Kody Kennedy singled to lead off the inning. He stole second and went to third when Jacob McCaleb reached on an error. A throwing error allowed Kennedy to score.

Coal Grove wasn’t about to quit and mounted a rally in the top of the seventh.

Gannon walked to start the inning against reliever Alex Powell.

Chase McKnight hit a hard liner that was caught by Daniels at first base to prevent a hit but Jacob Clark followed with a triple to score Gannon and make it 4-3.

Rutherford was walked intentionally but Powell retired the next two batters to end the game.

Coal Grove finished 13-10 and made its first district tournament appearance since 1991.

“I’m proud of our team and their effort. They worked hard all season and never quit even when we were 4-9. They were a fun group to coach,” said Mader.

Angelo was 2-3 and Clark 2-4.

Aron Alley was 2-2 and Gullett 2-3 to lead Minford.

Coal Grove 000 020 1 = 3 8 2

Minford 000 121 x = 4 6 1

Chase McKnight, Daniel Rutherford (4) and Jeb Jones. Eric Cook, Alex Powell (7) and Luke Lindamood. W-Cook IP-6.0, R-2, ER-1, H-7, K-2, BB-3. Save-Powell IP-1.0, R-1, ER-1, H-1, K-0, BB-2. L-Rutherford IP-2-1, R-3, ER-2, H-2, K-4, BB-2. McKnight IP-4.2, R-1, ER-1, H-4, K-4, BB-2. Hitting-CG: Jacob Clark 2-4 3B, Daniel Rutherford 1-3, Jeb Jones 1-3, Dylan Malone 1-4, Sam Angelo 2-3, Cole Gannon 1-2; MHS: Jared Alley 1-3, Aron Alley 2-2, Matthew Gullett 2-3, Kody Kennedy 1-3.