Samson’s defensive play preserves win as Dragons reach regionals

Published 2:24 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

Fairland Dragons’ Alex Morgan focuses on a pitch as he looks to get a hit. The Dragons held off Huntington 5-4 on Wednesday to win the Division 3 district and advance to the regionals. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)


CHILLICOTHE —  Carson Samson might want to think about taking up the game of darts.

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Fairland’s right fielder came up with a play that would make any dart thrower proud and he gunned down Huntington’s Braylon Leach at home plate to preserve a 5-4 win and vault the Dragons into the Division 3 regional tournament.

Fairland led 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning when the Huntsmen began to rally.

Matthew Jordan walked to lead off the inning and went to second base on a passed ball. Leach singled to drive home Jordan and it was 5-4 with no outs.

Leach stole second and went to third when Mitchell Willis grounded out to third base. D.J. Crocker came to the plate and hit a shallow fly ball to right field and Samson made the catch and fired a bull’s-eye to Dragons’ catcher Cyrus Cummings.

Leach went into his slide and just missed getting under the tag and reaching home plate with the tying run.

But the play turned out to be a double play to end the inning and the game.

Fairland (14-14) will play in the regional semifinals at Ohio University on Thursday at 5 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.

The Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Brycen Hunt walked, stole second base and scored on a hit by Ethan Wall.

Fairland came back with 3 runs in the second inning to build a 4-0 lead.

With one out, Cyrus Cummings reached on an error, Ben Southard singled and Keegan Smith was safe on a fielder’s choice.

Cummings scored on a passed ball and Blaze Perry had  a one-out, two-run single.

The lead went to 5-0 in the third inning.

Wall led off with a base hit, moved up on a passed ball and scored on a hit by Luke Brown.

Huntington (20-7) began its comeback with a run in the fourth inning when Brayden Elliott had a one-out triple and scored on a hit by Seth Throckmorton.

The Huntsmen cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth inning with a pair of runs.

With one out, Crocker belted a triple and scored when Elliott reached on an error. Landon Lowery singled and out later and John Black singled to drive in the second run.

Wall — who pitched the seventh inning on Tuesday to save the win over Zane Trace — went the distance to get the win. He gave up 8 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 8 and walking one. Wall also went 3-3 at the plate with an RBI.

Perry was 2-4 with 2 RBI, Brown 1-4 with an RBI, Cummings and Southard 1-3 with Hunt 1-4 as the Dragons had 9 hits.

Leach was 2-4, Jordan 1-2 with a double and RBI, Throckmorton 1-3 with an RBI, Elliott 1-3 with a triple and RBI, Black 1-3 with an RBI, Lowery 1-3 and Crocker 1-4 for the Huntsmen.

Fairland   131 000 0 = 5 9 2

Huntington 000 102 1 = 4 8 3

Ethan Wall and Cyrus Cummings. Andrew Oyer, J.D. Crocker (3) and  J.D. Crocker, Landon Lowery (3). W-Wall (IP-7.0, H-8, R-4, ER-2, K-8, BB-1, WP-1). L-Oyer (IP-2.0, H-4, R-4, ER-1, K-1, BB-0). Crocker (IP-5.0, H-5, R-1, ER-1, K-2, BB-0,. WP-1, HBP-1). Hitting-Fairland: Brycen Hunt 1-4, Blaze Perry 2-4 2-RBI, Ethan Wall 3-3 RBI, Luke Brown 1-4 RBI, Ben Southard 1-3, Cyrus Cummings 1-3 ; Huntington: Seth Throckmorton 1-3 RBI, D.J. Crocker 1-4, Landon Lowery 1-3, Braylon Leach 2-4, Matthew Jordan 1-2 2B RBI, Brayden Elliott 1-3 3B RBI, John Black 1-3 RBI.