NEW PARIS — National Trail scored three runs in the third, five runs in the fourth inning, and two in the fifth to beat Twin Valley South, 10-0, in a Division III baseball sectional final on Wednesday, May 15.
“That’s kind of been us. It’s taken a minute to get going. It’s taken some spark somewhere to get rolling,” Trail coach Tyler Luce said after the win.
Trail, which set a school record for wins with an 8-6 win over Arcanum on Saturday, May 18, won a conference title and has its sight set on accomplishing more.
“I think we’re just building off the regular season,” Luce said. “I think a big message to them was not be satisfied with just winning a league title. Yes, it’s exciting and yes we’ll celebrate it, but we’ve got some other things we want to do and other goals that we want to accomplish.”
Luce said the bottom of batting order enabled the Blazers to pull away for the tournament win.
“Some of our seniors got us going and some of the bottom order guys, and that’s the thing we’ve talked about is it’s not always going to be our one, two, three or four guys, we need things from everybody,” he said. “Tonight, it took the bottom of the order to get the top going.”
National Trail’s offense in the 4th inning was led by Travis Hunt, Peyton Lane, Hunter Michael, and Cody Webb, all driving in runs in the frame.
Kenny Moore was credited with the victory for Trail. He went five innings, allowing no runs on three hits and striking out one.
The Blazers collected eight hits. Michael, Webb, and Lane each racked up multiple hits for National Trail Blazers.
National Trail stole seven bases during the game as two players stole more than one. Cameron Harrison and Peyton Lane led the way with three each.
Lane broke the school record in two categories. He currently has 33 stolen bases on the year, breaking the previous record of 31 held by Shawn Ruebush in 1997. He also currently has eight triples which breaks the school record in a season. The previous best was six held by Andy Blevins in 2005.
For South, which started the season 1-8, the game was typical of its season.
“Honestly, the game started a lot how we wanted it to,” South coach Cory Bassler said. “It was even through a couple (innings) and we had a few chances on the basepaths. I can’t tell you how many really nice plays they made in the field and it really limited our chances to score runs. Defensively, our pitcher threw well for a couple of innings and we felt they were starting to time him up a little bit and we rolled the dice with a pitching change and he wasn’t on today and it just kind of snow balled.”
Trail was able to take advantage of a few South miscues.
“I tell my guys before every game the goal is always not to beat yourselves, not to come out here and make errors and give them five, six outs in an inning, and we didn’t do that at all today,” Bassler said. ‘That’s when they were able to get things going. If you give a good team like Trail four, five outs in an inning you’ve got no chance.”
The Panthers finished the season 8-14.
“Our goal was to just be become the best team we could be and be a scary team by the time the tournament came around,” Bassler said. “We ended up going 7-6 over the last 13 games.”
Trail, now 20-6, was scheduled to play Anna in the district semifinals Monday, May 20 at Eaton. The winner will meet either Cincinnati Country Day or Williamsburg in the district final on Wednesday, May 22 at Princeton High School.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH