• 54°

Team effort gives Redmen sectional championship

Rock Hill Redmen outfielder Brayden Friend loses his hat as he makes a running catch during Saturday’s Division III sectional title game against Alexander. The Redmen won, 9-4. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

PEDRO — You’ve heard the excuse, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
The Rock Hill Redmen prefer to say, “It’s not you, it’s us.”
But the Redmen use it as a reason, not an excuse, and they did so on Saturday as they beat the Alexander Spartans 9-4 to win their second straight Division III sectional title.
“It was a great team effort. We came out and played as a team and did everything right,” said Rock Hill coach Barry Litteral.
“Landon threw the ball well and we hit the ball. Alexander hit the ball well but we made the plays when we had to make them.”
Rock Hill (19-5) plays Westfall on Friday in the district semifinals at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe. The game is at 2 p.m. due to Westfall’s graduation Thursday’s evening.
Litteral pointed to the defense of shortstop Jake Blagg and second baseman Logan Hankins for one of the factors in the win.
“Logan (Hankins) and Jake (Blagg) played well in the middle. Between the two of them, they had 10 out of 11 assists,” said Litteral. “Brayden Friend made a diving catch in centerfield. They put the ball in play and we played good defense.”
Rock Hill got a run in the first inning.
Jake Blagg walked, Logan Hankins was hit by a pitch, both moved up on a ground out and Kadin France got a bloop single to drive in Blagg.
The Redmen stretched the lead to 3-0 in the second innings.
Landon Smith walked, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and came home on a hit by Jordan Griffith.
An errant pickoff throw sent Griffith to third and he scored on Brayden Friend’s sacrifice fly.
Rock Hill blew the game open with five runs in the third to make it 8-0.
Hankins was safe on an error, stole second, Kaleb Kidd walked, both moved up on a wild pitch and then scored when Smith was safe on an error.
Nick Blankenship singled and an outfield error put runners at second and third. Griffith then doubled home both runners and he came home on a hit by Friend.
Alexander (10-15) got three runs in the fourth inning.
Conor Truax singled, Cameron Bayha hit into fielder’s choice, Jacob Phillips singled, Mason Hanning walked to load the bases and Dalton Skinner grounded out as a run scored.
Jacob Jordan followed with a two-run singled.
The Spartans added a run in the top of the sixth when Phillips and Hanning singled and Jordan reached on a two-out error.
Rock Hill got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Blagg doubled and Nichols had an RBI single.
Alexander 000 301 0 = 4 8 5
Rock Hill 125 001 x = 9 10 1
Mason Hanning (IP-1.1,) Dalton Skinner (IP-2.1) Connor Truax (5) and Colby Carsey. Landon Smith and Kaleb Kidd. W-Smith (IP-7.0, H-8, R-4, ER-3, K-5, BB-2). L-Hanning (IP-1.1, H-2, R-3, K-1, BB-2, HBP-1). Skinner (IP-2.1, H-5, R-5, K-0, BB-1). Truax (IP-2.0, H-3, R-1, K-1, BB-0). Hitting-Alex: Drew Davis 1-4, Isaac York 1-4, Connor Truax 1-4, Jacob Phillips 2-3, Mason Hanning 1-2, Jacob Jordan 2-3; RH: Jake Blagg 2-4 2B, Seth Nichols 2-4, Kadin France 1-3, Landon Smith 1-3, Nick Blankenship 1-3, Jordan Griffith 2-3 2B, Brayden Friend 1-2.