WEST LAFAYETTE -- Runs were hard to come by on Thursday as both starting pitchers were dialed in as backyard rivals Newcomerstown and Ridgewood hooked up in Inter-Valley Conference baseball action.
Ridgewood's Dillan Shepler and Cole Hinton for the Trojans each turned in solid performances on the mound as it took extra innings to decide the outcome, with host Generals able to push across the winning run in the bottom of the eighth frame to record a 2-1 win.
RHS senior Ryan Lowe led off the inning with a single, and advanced to third base on a scorching double by Shepler to left-center field.
Junior Gage Young then promptly delivered Lowe home with the winning run with a solid base hit to right field.
"Like they say.....a win is a win and we'll take it," Ridgewood coach Chad Lahna said, "but I think it showed tonight we've been off for a while due to the weather.
"Not to take anything away from the Hinton kid," Lahna continued. "Give him credit. He did a nice job of keeping us off balance all night. He pitched a real good game...that's a tough one to lose for sure."
Hinton finished with 11 strikeouts in the contest, while only issuing one walk in a complete-game outing that drew praise from Trojans' head coach Robb Hendershot despite the loss.
"I thought Cole just pitched a heck of a game," Hendershot said. "He battled all night. He got in a few tough spots, but was able to work through them."
For the Trojans, the loss was a tough one to take as they seemed poised to record the upset win. Holding a 1-0 lead with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning before the Generals were able to scratch out a run to tie the game.
With one out, Jon Barker reached on a Trojan error and swiped second base to move into scoring position. Hinton then was able to strike out the next hitter for the second out of the inning.
Hinton then got two strikes on the next RHS hitter, when Barker broke for third base and was able to come around to score the tying run when Trojan catcher Nash Kissel's throw got away and ended up in short left field.
"We're always preaching doing the little things right....the fundamentals," Hendershot said. "They will get you every time and tonight in that seventh inning was a prime example. The kids are working hard and we'll get there. It's just going to take time to learn how to execute in those type of situations."
Also turning in a solid eight-inning performance was Shepler for the Generals, who finished his night's work with nine strikeouts and four walks to collect the win.
"I thought it was a really well pitched game on both sides," Lahna said. "I felt Dillan got stronger as the game went along, he battled them all night and we played some solid defense behind him tonight. They got that early run then he shut them down and kept us in the game."
Newcomerstown broke in front 1-0 with a run in the second inning off Shepler. Kissel led off the frame with a single and would come around to score on an RBI base hit from Josh Green.
Zach Gibson led the Trojans (5-12, 4-6 IVC) with a perfect 4-for-4 night with four singles.
Ridgewood (14-4, 8-2 IVC) was led offensively by Shepler with a double and single, with Young collecting the game-winning RBI base hit.
Indian Valley 14,
GNADENHUTTEN -- Host Indian Valley put together a pair of seven-run innings to roll past the visiting Ridgewood Generals, 14-5, in non-conference action on Friday.
Shawn Mills gained the mound win for the Braves, fanning six and walking three in six innings of work. Brady Byers pitched the seventh adding one strikeout. Ryan Lowe suffered the loss for Ridgewood.
Indian Valley (10-4) banged out 14 hits, paced by Coby Eckstein with a home run, double, single and four RBI. Mills added a double and single and Koby Cool chipped in with a pair of singles.
Ridgewood (14-5) was led offensively by Dillon Shepler with a double and single while Austin Lowery added a pair of singles and Lowe belted a home run.
Sandy Valley 6,
NEWCOMERSTOWN -- Visiting Sandy Valley High jumped in front in the first inning plating four runs and never gave up the lead in posting a 6-1 Inter-Valley Conference win over Newcomerstown on Friday.
Brandon Daley picked up the win on the mound for the Cardinals, tossing a complete game with four strikeouts and two walks.
Derek Crank (1-3) was the Trojans' starter and took the loss, with relief help from Cole Lorenz in the third and Justin Green in the seventh. The trio combined for no strikeouts and seven walks.
Both teams had five hits, with Caleb DeFord pacing the Sandy Valley offense with a double and single while Andrew Lancaster added a double.
For Newcomerstown (5-13, 4-7 IVC), Cole Hinton was the lone player with two hits, both singles.