The Olentangy baseball team fell behind early for the second straight tournament game and, for the second straight tournament game, found a way to battle back and advance.
The ninth-seeded Braves (20-9), who trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, scored a combined four runs in their final three trips to the plate to notch a 4-2 win over Pickerington North (16-11) in a Division I district semifinal Monday at Hilliard Darby.
Sutton Bucci led off what turned out to be a two-run fourth with a single to center. Josh Moeller followed it up with a single of his own and, after both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, Bucci scored the game-tying run on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Connor McCulty.
Moeller went to third on the play and Connor Haag, the next batter, drove him in with a ground out to short.
The Panthers evened things up in the fifth as Mitchell Smith connected on a two-out double to drive in Thomas Townsend, but Olentangy answered with a run on yet another fielder’s choice in the bottom half to take the lead for good.
The Braves added an insurance run in the sixth, smoothing out the scoring summary when Haag sprinted home on a wild pitch.
Nick Foy took care of the rest, tossing a gem to pick up the complete-game win on the mound. He allowed just the two runs on four hits while striking out four and walking one.
With the win, Olentangy advances to Wednesday’s district final against second-seeded Hilliard Darby — a team the Braves beat 2-0 earlier this month in Lewis Center. The game is set to start at 5 p.m. at a site to be determined.
New Albany 6, Big Walnut 5
Colton Lee’s RBI double with two outs in the top of the seventh sliced Big Walnut’s deficit to just one run, but he was caught trying to stretch it into a triple to end the game as New Albany held on to win Monday’s Division I district semifinal at the Gahanna-Lincoln Baseball Field in Blacklick.
The game was back-and-fourth throughout.
The Eagles (18-8) broke the scoring seal with a three-run third, but the Golden Eagles (16-12) answered with three runs of their own in the top of the fourth. BW took its first lead with a run in the sixth, but New Albany added three in the bottom half to take control.
Lee and Carson Becker led BW with a pair of hits while Jackson Seiple added a game-high three RBI.
Austin Krinn suffered the setback on the mound, allowing six runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out four and walking two over 5.2 innings of work.
Second-seeded Buckeye Valley started the second season in style, winning their Division I, Region 4 tournament opener 23-0 over 15th-seeded Wellington Monday in Delaware.
Nathan Heiser, Trent Slavik and Carson James led the Baron offense with four goals apiece. Reid Lajeunesse quarterbacked the offense, finishing with seven assists to go with a pair of goals, while Andy Nero had five helpers in the win.
Kailee O’Brien had five goals and three assists to lead fifth-seeded Olentangy Orange to a 22-4 win over 15th-seeded Whitehouse Anthony Wayne in the first round of the Division I, Region 1 tournament Monday in Lewis Center.
Melanie Neuman added a hat trick while Hannah Lower, Bella Lindell and Tyler Bluvol had two goals apiece.