XENIA — National Trail’s baseball team kicked off sectional tournament play with a win over Cross County Conference foe Bethel, 6-3, on Monday, May 9.
With the win, Trail, the No. 7 seed, advanced to the second round of the Division III Dayton 2 sectional to play No. 15 Greenon. The game was scheduled to be played Wednesday, May 11.
Against Bethel, it took the Blazers a while to get going, not scoring until the fifth inning.
The Bees, though, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, scoring twice in the second inning.
The Bees threatened again and looked to open things up in the home half of the fourth, as they loaded the bases with one out and the top of the order coming to the plate.
However, Blazer starting pitcher Billy Lanman had other ideas, as he struck out Bethel’s next two batters, ending the threat.
NT carried the momentum from the bottom of the fourth and responded in the top half of the fifth with five runs.
Trey Mann got things started with a walk and pinch runner Jacob Heck moved to second on a fielder’s choice. Dom Huffman’s base hit moved Heck to third and Lanman’s fielder’s choice to the shortstop scored Heck.
The rest of the damage was done with two outs.
Lanman stole second and Michael Bane pulled through in the clutch with a base hit to left-center to tie the game.
An error on a ground ball hit by Logan Pettit, Angel Garabito was hit by a pitch and a walk to Chip Parker, along with a couple of passed balls led to the remaining four Blazer runs.
Trail tacked on an insurance run in the seventh. Bane once again started things off by reaching on an error. Pettit drew a walk, Garabito sacrificed the runners to second and third and Parker executed a safety squeeze to bring Bane home for the sixth run. Bethel added its final run in the seventh.
While Lanman wasn’t as sharp as usual, he was able to pitch five innings, giving up just three hits, three walks and striking out six. Both runs scored against him were unearned as he picked up the win. Bane picked up the save, hurling two hitless innings and striking out two.
The Blazers put together only three hits, but early they hit the ball hard right at people. Bethel pitchers walked seven batters and hit two hitters as NT hitters continue to have excellent approaches at the plate. They drove the Bethel pitcher out of the game after five innings with 100 pitches. Huffman, Bane and Pettit picked up the hits as Lanman, Bane and Parker picked up picked up RBIs. Trey Mann reached base twice via walks.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH