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Ironton moves step closer to league title

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

The Ironton Fighting Tigers were three steps from the Ohio Valley Conference baseball title.
After Friday, it’s now two steps.
Ironton beat the Chesapeake Panthers 7-3 and inched a step closer to the league title. The Fighting Tigers are 17-3 overall and 11-1 in the OVC.
Kyle Howell turned in six solid innings and Ashton Duncan struck out the side in the seventh to finish up. Howell gave up five hits, struck out four and walked one.
“Howell pitched like a senior. One word sums up that kid: relentless,” said Ironton coach Travis Wylie.
Ironton had nine hits with Trevor Kleinman going 2-3 with a run batted in, Cameron Deere 1-3 with two RBI, Jacob Sloan 1-3 and a double, and Nate Bias 2-2.
Travis Grim was 2-3 with two RBI for the Panthers. He also worked the first four innings giving up seven hits, striking out two and walked three. Only three of the seven runs were earned.
Each team scored twice in the first inning.
Thomas Sentz walked to lead off the game, Jacob Daniels was hit by a pitch, the runners moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a hit by Grim.
Ironton (17-3, 11-1) answered in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Jon Wylie singled and went to second on an error and scored on a hit by Deere who went to second on the throw home. Deere took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.
The Fighting Tigers took the lead with four runs in the second.
Bias walked, Kleinman singled and Duncan put down a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed for an error to load the bases.
After a force out at home, Wylie tried to squeeze a run home and the ball was thrown away at first base allowing all three runners to score and Wylie ended up at third base.
Deere grounded out with Wylie scoring on the play.
The Panthers managed a run in the top of the third when Devin Stevens was hit by a pitch, Grim beat out a bunt for a hit and Johnathan’s ground out scored the run.
Ironton got that run back in the bottom of the inning as Ryan Ashley doubled and Bias and Kleinman singled.
The game marked the final regular season home game for seniors Rocky White, Ashley, Deere and Howell.
“All these seniors know that you can’t take anything for granted and that’s how they intended to play this year from the start,” said Wylie.
Ironton plays at Rock Hill on Monday.
Chesapeake 201 000 0 = 3 5 4
Ironton 241 000 x = 7 9 0
Travis Grim, Jacob Daniels (5) and Hayden Blankenship. Kyle Howell, Ashton Duncan (7) and Nate Bias. W-Howell (IP-6.0, H-5, R-3, ER-3, K-4, BB-1, HBP-3). Duncan (IP-1.0, K-3). L-Grim (IP-4.0, H-7, R-7, ER-3, K-2, BB-3). Daniels (IP-2.0, H-2, HBP-1). Hitting-CHS: Jacob Daniels 1-2 2B, Travis Grim 2-3 2-RBI, Johnathan Brammer 1-3 2B RBI, Hayden Blankenship 1-2; Ironton: Kyle Howell 1-4, Jon Wylie 1-4, Cameron Deere 1-3 2-RBI, Jacob Sloan 1-3 2B, Ryan Ashley 1-3 2B, Nate Bias 2-2, Trevor Kleinman 2-3 RBI.