NEW RIEGEL — Both teams failed to capitalize on multiple scoring chances, but New Riegel finally executed in the bottom of the ninth inning when Jake Dryfuse’s suicide squeeze brought home Brady Hall for a 2-1 Blue Jackets victory against Riverdale in a Division IV sectional semifinal game at New Riegel.
After eight innings of one-run baseball from starter Dillon Farrow, Riverdale went to lefty Paul Frey (0-2) in the ninth against the heart of New Riegel’s order, and he got off to a rough start with a four-pitch walk to Hall.
Brandyn Reinhart, who already had two singles and drove in the Blue Jackets’ only other run, was intentionally walked and Josh Nye dropped a single into shallow center field that loaded the bases with no outs. With the bottom of the order struggling all day, New Riegel coach Mark Theis went for broke, sending Hall at third and ordering Dryfuse to bunt.
“I said at the beginning of the year that small ball is going to be a big part of our baseball team this year,” Theis said. “We’re having trouble swinging the bat and there was a left-handed pitcher, so why not try it? If not, worst-case scenario, we have bases loaded, one out.”
Riverdale saw the play developing and had fielders charging, but a diving toss home was not in time.
“They were coming hard,” Riverdale coach Dennis Pees said. “They were going to steal home or get the bunt down, no matter what. We tried what we could.”
The Blue Jackets (10-11) advance to the sectional final against No. 2 seed Mohawk at 5 p.m. Wednesday at New Riegel.
Prior to that, New Riegel left runners at second and third in the second inning, left the bases loaded in the third, and had at least one runner in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings without coming home as Farrow pitched out of jams while allowing just six hits.
The Blue Jackets scored their first run eight innings earlier in their first at-bat when Andrew Hohman singled, stole second and scored on Reinhart’s two-out single.
Riverdale (6-15) tied it at 1 in the fourth inning when Paul Frey doubled, moved to third on a Tyler Miller single and scored on a bases-loaded walk to Grant Loveridge. But the Falcons left the bases loaded and also left runners in scoring position in the second, third and fifth innings.
“This is what Ohio baseball is all about right here,” Riverdale coach Dennis Pees said. “It was like a championship game right there. Dillon pitched one heck of a game and the defenses played well, too. There were a lot of innings where the defenses got out with leaving runners on. It’s just too bad that there’s got to be a winner and there’s got to be a loser.”
Reinhart started on the mound for New Riegel, striking out six in three innings, but he was pulled in favor of Dryfuse, who pitched six scoreless innings of relief.
Farrow and Frey had two hits each to lead the Falcons’ offense. Hohman singled twice for the Blue Jackets.
“We had our opportune times,” Pees said. “We had the runners on. We just couldn’t get a hit to get them across. A couple times we didn’t get the runners across before they got the third out, which was kind of costly and would have put us up with that one run we needed.”
Riverdale hosts Lucas at 5 p.m. today.
Score by innings
Riverdale 001 000 000 — 1 7
New Riegel 100 000 001 — 2 8
WP: Dryfuse; LP: Frey (0-2).
2B: Frey (R), B. Reinhart (NR).
3B: Bushong (R).
By LONNIE McMILLAN