Scoring an unearned run in the fifth inning, the Priory Rebels squeezed past the Union Wildcats Saturday in the opening round of the Class 4 District 4 baseball tournament at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, 1-0.
Union finished the season at 6-9 while Priory advanced to Monday’s semifinal game against the second-seeded Borgia Knights.
Union’s Ashton Dehn engaged in a pitchers’ duel with Priory sophomore Nathan VonderHaar.
“It was a shame that Ashton had to take the loss,” Union Head Coach Ryan Bailey said. “That was one of the best pitched games I’ve seen all year, not just on our team but by anyone. He was a horse for us this year, especially when our roster changed midway through the season.”
While both teams had chances to score in the contest, Priory was the only one to take advantage.
In the bottom of the fifth, an error opened the inning, but Union was able to force that batter at second.
Reaching base on that play was Drew Callahan. He advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by Dominic Revetta.
Dehn came back to strike out Daniel Watson for the second out. Watson had tripled in his first at-bat.
But David Nogalski hit a slow roller to third base and beat out the throw to first as Callahan crossed the plate, giving the Rebels the lead.
Dehn came back to strike out Andrew Rund, but the damage was done.
For the game, Dehn allowed one unearned run on six hits and one walk while striking out seven Priory batters.
VonderHaar allowed five hits and two walks while fanning six Wildcats.
Union had plenty of chances in the game. Nick Schumaker was hit by the game’s first pitch and stole second. He was stranded there on a strikeout and two pop-ups.
Dehn allowed a two-out triple to Watson in the bottom of the first, but came back with a strikeout to end the threat.
Union had singles by Andrew Lenau and Aldwin Fleer in the second, but couldn’t produce.
Dehn, Lenau, Burgess, Fleer and Dustin Griffin had Union’s hits. Burgess and Griffin also walked and Schumaker stole a base.
In the fourth, Union had one runner get caught stealing and left Dehn on base.
Dehn escaped a first and third situation in the fourth on a groundout.
Union had a chance in the sixth inning, but had a runner get picked off second.
“The fifth and sixth innings just defined the year it’s been for us,” Bailey said. “It’s been a tough year in a lot of different ways. To give up an unearned run on a bad hop to the shortstop that wasn’t Emmett (Parker)’s fault and then a very slow roller to third that Trey (Fink) made a good try on is hard to explain. And then to have Brendan (Burgess) slip at second base and get picked off to put a knife in our rally was just the icing on the cake. We played a good game, but mistakes here and there and just bad breaks ended our season.”