Barons rally to claim district crown


The second-seeded Buckeye Valley baseball team earned its second walk-off win in as many games Saturday, plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to top fifth-seeded Johnstown-Monroe 5-4 in a Division II district championship in Mount Vernon.

After the Johnnies jumped in front with a run in the top of the 10th — Cole Boroff started the inning with a single before scampering home on a two-out knock by Garrett Grinstead — the Barons took advantage of some Johnstown miscues to seal the come-from-behind win and punch their first ticket to the regional semifinals in more than three decades.

Tanner Domyanich set the table with a leadoff single and Mason Kurtz reached on an error after laying down a sacrifice bunt. Nolan Ralph singled to load the bases with nobody out and, after Cole Raile lined out on a rocket to second, Zach Church drew a bases-loaded walk to even things up before Kurtz scored what proved to be the game-winning run on a wild pitch.

Talk about a flair for the dramatic … and it wasn’t even the biggest BV rally of the afternoon.

After managing next to nothing from the plate all game long, down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Barons strung together some hits when they needed them most. Ralph, Raile and Church started things with back-to-back-to-back singles, with Ralph scoring the Barons’ first run on the last of them.

The next two scored on an error as Joey Eurez laid down a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. The throw to first was wide, though, with Raile and Church scoring on the play.

The Barons got the potential winning run to third with one out, but the Johnnies managed to limit the damage to just the three runs. Fortunately for the Barons, the 10th inning was a different story.

Next up, Buckeye Valley will take on Eaton, a champion from the Southwest District, in Thursday’s regional semifinal. The game will be played at Mason, with the first pitch slated for 5 p.m.

Hilliard Darby 6, Olentangy Liberty 1

The 11th-seeded Panthers hung a pair of crooked numbers — three in the second inning and two more in the fifth — to pull away for a win over the fifth-seeded Patriots in a Division I district championship Saturday afternoon in Grove City.

Darby did the bulk of its damage Thursday, when the game was originally scheduled. The Panthers scored a run in the first and three in the second to take a 4-0 lead before heavy rains made the field unplayable until the weekend.

Darby scored on an error in the first and Matt Spencer stole home on a double steal to make it 2-0 in the second. Casey Maruniak then laced a two-out, two-run double to left to balloon the Panthers’ edge to 4-0 just before the sky opened up and the game was suspended.

Liberty responded in its first trip to the plate after the game resumed a couple days later, getting a run closer when Nolan Fogg scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Connor Bourn, but that was the last run it would score off Darby pitching, which allowed just three hits, all singles.

Kyle Kesel picked up the win on the mound, allowing an unearned run on one hit while striking out two and walking three in five innings of work. Cam Gilkerson tossed the final two, allowing just two hits while striking out three.

Maruniak led the Panthers at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI. Jameson O’Flynn and Spencer also had two hits apiece while Brody Van Dyke scored twice.

David Dielman led Liberty, finishing 2-for-3 in the setback. Fogg had the Patriots’ other hit.

Buckeye Valley third baseman Tanner Domyanich fires to first base for an out during Saturday’s Division II district championship against Johnstown. Valley third baseman Tanner Domyanich fires to first base for an out during Saturday’s Division II district championship against Johnstown. Ben Stroup | The Gazette

By Ben Stroup

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