The defending Division III champs had their backs against the wall but came through with a three-run seventh to take down Beachwood (20-7) 4-3. After going 5 ⅓ innings on the mound, Ohio University commit Trey Barkman drove a one out pitch to left to complete the Waynedale (19-9) comeback and keep their repeat hopes alive.
Beachwood Strikes First
Both squads would have runners reach via walk early, but in the top of the third the Bison broke through. After a James O’Neill single led off the inning, Luke Bennett beat out an infield single to bring around O’Neil and put Beachwood up 1-0. It was more of the same in the fourth as Brett Zawatsky led things off with a single. After advancing to second on a passed ball, O’Neil came around to score on a Barkman throwing error to make it 2-0 Bison.
Golden Bears Respond
In the home half of the inning, the Golden Bears offense finally got cooking. Timmy Short led off the inning with a walk and would advance to second after a sacrifice bunt. After a Jayden Schlabach single advanced him to third, Short was out at the plate after a steal attempt. Gavin Spitler hit a double to score Schlabach and draw Waynedale closer at 2-1.
Bison Extend Lead
In the top of the sixth, Beachwood got two singles from Zawatsky and O’Neill and Henry Strean was hit by a pitch, giving the Bison a bases loaded, one out advantage. Bennet would work into a full count and draw a walk, bringing in Zawatsky for a 3-1 lead. Otto Solorzano came in in relief for Barkman, getting a strikeout and a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Barkman Walks It Off
Staring down the barrel at the end of their season, the Golden Bears refused to go down without a fight. Leading off the bottom of the seventh, Tate Venables drew a walk. Drew Raber followed that up with a single, advancing Venables to third. Tristan Franks would then ground out to second, scoring Venables and making the score 3-2. During an at-bat in which Connor Gatti would draw a four-pitch walk, Raber scampered home on a passed ball to tie things up at 3-3. After a walk to Short, Barkman blasted a double to left field that scored Gatti and gave Waynedale a thrilling 4-3 victory.
The Golden Bears keep their repeat hopes alive with the win and advance to Wednesday’s district final where they will square off with Chagrin Falls (18-10), who won an extra inning battle with Black River in the semifinals. The loss brings to an end a great season for the Bison, who won their second consecutive CVC and sectional championships.
— Alan Kornspan (@careersinsports) May 23, 2023
Josh Rosenblitt: 6.1 IP 6 H 6 BB 3 ER 6 K
Brett Zawatsky: 2-4 2 R
Luke Bennett: 1-2 2 RBI 2 BB
James O’Neill: 2-3 R
Trey Barkman: 5.1 IP 5 H 5 BB 3 ER 7 K 2-2 2B 1 RBI 2 SB
Connor Gatti: 1-2 R 2 BB
Gavin Spitler: 1-2 2B 1 RBI
Tristan Franks: 1-3 RBI
Follow me on Twitter @devinlowe123 for more high school sports coverage!
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