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Ironton rallies to give Fairland 1st OVC loss

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ catcher Brycen Thomas tags out Fairland Dragons’ Brennan West (2) at home plate during Wednesday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. Ironton won to snap Fairland’s 13-game winning streak. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

All good things must come to an end.
The Fairland Dragons were riding a 13-game winning streak and on the verge of clinching the Ohio Valley Conference title.
But baseball offers no guarantees as the Ironton Fighting Tigers proved with a 7-5 come-from-behind win over the Dragons on Wednesday.
“It was great to see our team battle to the end and play like we’re capable,” said Ironton coach Travis Wylie. “Both of our seniors (Ethan Duncan and Brycen Thomas) are making plays and leading this team.”
Ethan Duncan pitched well in relief to get the win. Duncan worked three innings, did not allow a run or a hit, struck out seven and walked five.
Reilly Sowards took the loss. He fanned four, did not walked a batter and allowed five earned runs with four strikeouts and no walks.
Ironton mounted the winning rally with four runs in the fifth inning.
Brycen Thomas and Ethan Duncan singled to put runners on the corners. Duncan stole second and both runners scored on Gunnar Crawford’s base hit.
Ryan Ashley put down a sacrifice bunt and Crawford scored on Collin Freeman’s base hit.
Blake Stuntebeck reached on a third strike passed ball to load the bases. Jacob Sloan grounded out for an RBI and the final runs scored on an error.
Fairland (13-4, 10-1) took a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
Alex Rogers, Sowards and Bryan Defoe all walked to load the bases. Brennan West singled in one run and Gavin Hunt’s ground out scored a run.
Ironton (8-11) took a 3-2 lead in the third.
Sloan reached on an error and Kyle Howell doubled to start the inning. Cameron Deere, Duncan and Crawford all followed with RBI singles.
But the Dragons answered with their own three-spot in the fourth and took a 5-3 lead.
Sowards singled and Garrett Looney tripled for the first run. West and Gavin Hunt walked and Looney scored on a wild pitch. Tucker Adkins then singled in the final run.
Besides getting the win, Duncan also went 3-3 with an RBI as Ironton had 10 hits. Crawford was 2-3 with three RBI.
Tucker Adkins was 2-4 with an RBI as the Dragons managed five hits.
Fairland 020 300 0 = 5 5 3
Ironton 003 040 x = 5 10 0
Reilly Sowards and Bryan Defoe. Jacob Sloan, Kyle Howell (4), Ethan Duncan (5) and Brycen Thomas. W-Duncan (IP-3.0, K-7, BB-5). Sloan (IP-3.1, H-4, R-5, ER-5, K-5, BB-4). Howell (IP-0.2, H-1, K-1, BB-1). L-Sowards (IP-5.0, ER-5, K-4, BB-0). Hitting-FHS: Gavin Hunt rbi, Tucker Adkins 2-4 rbi, Alex Rogers 1-3, Reilly Sowards 1-2, Garrett Looney 1-2 3B rbi, Brennan West 1-1 rbi; Ironton: Kyle Howell 1-3 2B, Cameron Deere 1-3 rbi, Brycen Thomas 1-3, Ethan Duncan 3-3 rbi, Gunnar Crawford 2-3 3-rbi, Ryan Ashley 1-2, Collin Freeman 1-3.