Lima, OH Ė This past weekend the Barons won their first two games in the ORC Tournament, but fell to #1 MU Hamilton, 1 to 0 in the winnerís bracket finals on Sunday.
On Friday, the #2 seeded Barons were matched up against the #7 seeded Hilltoppers of OU Chillicothe. In the game, the Barons didnít wait long to get their bats going as the notched 3 quick runs in the bottom of the 1st inning to take an early 3 run lead. The Hilltoppers would chip away with 2 in the third inning thanks to a 2 run homerun, but the Barons responded immediately with 2 more in their half of the inning on a 2 run single by Ryan Kortokrax. Then, in the 4th inning the Barons blew it open as they rounded the bases 6 times to speed out to an 11 to 3 lead. The big hit in the 4th was an in the park grand slam home run by Justin Dunlap. Then, in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Barons first 3 batters singled, Adam Hemker drew a walk to score David Wurst, Alan Hankinson scored on the next pitch which was a wild pitch, and then to end the game due to the ten run mercy rule Cory Echols singled down the right field line scoring Tyler Slonecker. Codie Roberts went the distance for the Barons on the mound, earning his 4th win of the season.
On Saturday, the #2 seeded Barons were matched up against the #3 seeded Thunderhawks of MU Middletown. The Barons would come out on top in this game 9 to 2, thanks in large part to some strong pitching by freshman Greg Patterson, timely hitting by the bottom half of the lineup, and excellent defense played all over the field by the Barons. The Thunderhawks did strike first by scoring one in the 2nd inning, but the Barons struck right back in their half of the inning with one as David Wurst singled home Justin Dunlap who had reached earlier in the inning thanks to a base on balls. The Barons would later take a one run lead in the 3rd inning as Tyler Slonecker singled, moved to 2nd as Patterson walked, stole 3rd base, then scored on a passed ball. In the 4th inning the Barons added two more by capitalizing on two Thunderhawk errors and a Kortokrax double. Then, in the 5th inning the Barons blew it open by tallying 4 runs as Dustin Craig led off the inning with a single, Dunlap reached base on an error, Roberts then also reached base on an error while working to bunt the runners over to 2nd & 3rd. Then, with the bases full of Barons Kortokrax singled up the middle to score both Craig and Dunlap while Roberts was able to move all the way to third on the Thunderhawk throw to the plate. Roberts aggressive baserunning would pay off as he scored on a sac fly to center by Hankinson bringing up Slonecker who would single to score Kortokrax giving the Barons an 8 to 2 advantage. The Barons would later add another run in the bottom half of the 6th inning thanks to a Dunlap single and another double by Kortokrax taking the game to the 7th inning. There, Patterson wasnít going to give in to the Thunderhawk hitters despite walking the first hitter of the inning, Patterson quickly retired the next 3 hitters to go the distance for the Barons, giving up 2 unearned runs by allowing 4 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 6.
On Sunday, the #2 seeded Barons were matched up with the #1 seeded Harriers of MU Hamilton in the winnerís bracket finals. In a very well played, and exciting game to the end the Barons fell 1 to 0. The Barons were only able to muster up 3 hits in the contest, two of which came in the first inning while the Harriers managed to score the lone run of the game when they strung two of their five hits together in the 6th inning of the game, scoring their runner from 1st on a very close play at the plate. The Barons had two good scoring opportunities in the game, in the 1st inning they had runners at 1st and 2nd with only 1 out, but failed to get them in and then in the 3rd inning they had a runner at 2nd with one out, but again were unable to bring him in. For the Harriers, they too only had two opportunities to score thanks to a stellar pitching performance by freshman Cory Echols. In the 4th inning the Harriers saw their runner get gunned down at the plate for the 3rd out of the inning, but then in the 6th inning, with two outs the Harriers were able to string together a single and a double to score the winning run. With the loss, Echols record drops to 7 & 2 on the season.
The Barons return to action on Friday at 1pm in Lancaster in the loserís bracket final versus MU Middletown with the winner getting another chance at MU Hamilton in the championship game.