Twin Valley South falls to Russia in district semifinal


RUSSIA — Russia scored four runs in the sixth inning to beat Twin Valley South 13-3 on Monday to advance to a district final on Wednesday. The Raiders (24-4) advanced to face Felicity-Franklin at Miamisburg High School.

“Wasn’t the cleanest game,” Russia coach Kevin Phlipot said. “Started off well. We had a 9-0 lead, maybe we just kind of took our foot off the gas, relaxed a little bit. …So it wasn’t the cleanest, but we survive and move on.”

Many of the Raiders’ players have experience in state tournament runs the last two years, in which they made several comebacks.

Russia is battle-tested team full of veterans this year. Seniors Hayden Quinter and Brayden Monnin have set program records for hits and runs in a career, senior Felix Francis has set a program record for career stolen bases and junior Braylon Cordonnier has set a record for career runs.

The squad is hitting well; Russia has scored 10 or more runs in its last five games and in eight of its last 10 games.

“We prepared ourselves with (a strong) late (season) schedule. We saw some good pitching, and the better pitching we saw, we felt like we hit better,” Phlipot said. “So we’re hoping that trends in our favor.”

Russia had 10 hits on Monday, drew three walks and had four batters get hit by pitches. Cordonnier, a Marshall University commit who plays at shortstop when he’s not on the mound, was three for four with two RBIs and one double.

Monnin was two for three; he hit a two-run homer to left field in the second inning. Ben Rinderle was two for four.

Russia, which was voted the No. 1 seed in the Dayton Div. IV sectional, had several hard hits right to Twin Valley South fielders in middle innings after building a 9-0 lead in the first three.

But Cordonnier, Adam Hoehne and Rinderle each hit singles in the sixth to help the Raiders reach the run-rule margin.

“We hit two line drives out at them in the fourth or the fifth inning; that’s baseball,” Phlipot said. “We stayed focused and hit enough balls hard up the middle, and they helped us, put a few guys on base, and we took care of the rest.”

Jude Counts started for the Raiders. He was strong in the first three innings but struggled with control in the fourth. He pitched three and two-thirds innings and gave up three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six batters.

Rinderle relieved him in the fourth. The Panthers scored all three of their runs in the inning and had runners on first and second when Rinderle entered, but he struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches to end the threat.

Rinderle pitched two and one-third innings and gave up two hits and one walk while striking out four.

“They have some scrappy hitters and they made us work,” Phlipot said. “We made a few mistakes, not covering first base and certain things that prolong an inning. We weren’t the cleanest, but we found a way and got through that inning.

“I brought Ben in, and Ben did his job. He wasn’t perfect, but he felt his way through some things.”

Reach Sidney Daily News editor Bryant Billing at 937-538-4822, or follow @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook or @TopBillingSport on X (Twitter).

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