Kerns, defense key Fighting Tigers to sectional title win

Published 10:30 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ catcher Brady Moatz blocks home plate as he tags out Adena’s Christian Heath (14) during Thursday’s Division 3 sectional finals. Ironton won 3-2. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)


Ironton Fighting Tigers’ pitcher Chaydan Kerns tags out an Adena baserunner who tried to score during Thursday’s Division 3 sectional finals. Ironton won 3-2. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

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In baseball, it takes pitching and defense to win.

Well, the Ironton Fighting Tigers won on Thursday.

Behind the 3-hit pitching of Chaydan Kerns and some stellar defense, Ironton edged the Adena Warriors 3-2 and claimed the Division 3 sectional championship.

“The first few innings I was pretty nervous because the game was basically in my hands and what I did would affect the game,” said Kerns.

“But I settled in and my defense played great behind me and had my back which helps a lot in games like tonight.”

Kerns was masterful as he struck out 8, walked one, hit a batter and threw 68 strikes while throwing only 95 pitches. He retired 12 of the last 13 batters.

“That was one great job by Chaydan and all of our seniors. They stepped up for this win,” said Ironton coach Travis Wylie. “We made plays when we needed to and that was the difference.”

Ironton (15-10) will play Huntington Ross at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Veterans Stadium in Chillicothe.

Adena (6-14) got 2 unearned runs in the third to snap a scoreless tie.

Justin Brown got a leadoff walk and Christian Heath was hit by a pitch an out later and Easton Henness’ sacrifice bunt was thrown away allowing courtesy runner Joedy Ater to score and Heath to reach third.

Ethan Puckett grounded out as Heath scored.

Ironton tied the game in the bottom of the inning.

With 2 outs, Jon Wylie singled and Brady Moatz was hit by a pitch. Connor Kleinman then tripled on a 1-1 pitch as Wylie and courtesy runner Nate Sloan scored.

Ironton then took the lead in the sixth.

Moatz walked and went to second when Kleinman grounded out. Kerns beat out a bunt for a hit as Moatz went to third.  Pitcher Austin Magill then balked to send Moatz home with the go-ahead run.

Kerns took care of business in the seventh as he retired the side in order with a pair of strikeouts sandwiched around a ground out.

“Chaydan locked down in the last four innings,” said coach Wylie.

Kerns evened his record at 4-4 and lowered his earned run average to a microscopic 1.63.

Tommy Sheridan had the defensive play of the game as he made a two-out diving catch in the fifth inning with Heath on first base after a single.

Kerns also made a good defensive play in the fourth inning. Cameron Stoops bunted and Kerns tagged out Markus Jackson attempting to score.

Kerns was 2-3, Kleinman 1-3 with a triple and 2 RBI and Jon Wylie 1-2 as Ironton had only 4 hits.

Adena 002 000 0 = 2 3 0

Ironton 002 001 x = 3 4 2

Austin Magill and Justin Brown. Chaydan Kerns and Brady Moatz. W-Kerns (IP-7.0, H-3, R-2, ER-0, K-8, BB-1, HBP-1. L-Magill (IP-6.0, H-4, R-3, ER-3, K-4, BB-3, HBP-2). Hitting-Adena: Christian Heath 2-2, Marcus Jackson 1-3; Ironton: Jon Wylie 1-2, Connor Kleinman 1-3 3B 2-RBI, Chaydan Kerns 2-3.