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    Perry holds off Norwayne in Division III regional semifinal

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    MASSILLON—Perry has had its fair share of big moments this season, but the Pirates added another when they beat Norwayne in a Division III regional semifinal on Thursday, 9-8.

    Norwayne had the winning run on base in the bottom of the seventh but the Pirates pitched out of the jam to seal their win.

    “It feels really good (to win this game),” said Perry head coach Matt Platt. “It’s moments like this that you remember forever, and I am so glad I have a chance to coach these guys daily. Our guys play the game the right way.”

    Norwayne got off to a fast start with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first inning.

    Perry answered with a four-run second.

    “It takes a certain toughness to win these games,” Platt said. “We told our guys all year that we’ve had enough success in coming back (in games), and they know what happens when we do that. These guys never go away. It’s like the old saying, ‘If you want to beat us, you’ll have to kill us, and we die hard.’ That’s how we feel about (our team).”

    Brody Petruccelli drew a one-out walk and scored on Kyle Rhineberger’s RBI double. Rhineberger then scored on an error with two outs in the inning, Luke Sivon walked, and Owen McKoon hit a two-run single that gave the Pirates a 4-2 lead.

    Perry added two more runs in the fourth when Jason Pentek and Sivon hit back-to-back two-out singles and McKoon tripled home both runners for a 6-2 advantage.

    Cade Henderson singled and scored on a fielder’s choice in the fifth but Norwayne answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to cut Perry’s lead to 7-4.

    The Pirates added two insurance runs in the sixth when McKoon and Sam Tharp hit back-to-back one-out singles and Henderson hit a clutch two-out double, pushing Perry’s lead to 9-4.

    The Bobcats rallied for four runs in the bottom of the sixth on three singles, two hit batters, and a walk.

    Norwayne then used a pair of two-out singles to threaten in the seventh, but Pentek coaxed a popup out of the next batter to end the game.

    “Jason’s a four-year player for us,” Platt said. “He knows the ins and outs (of the game) and the expectations we have. There’s no moment too big for him. He slows his heart rate, and he gets the job done.”

    McKoon led the Perry offense as he finished 3-for-3 with four runs batted in. Taylor went 2-for-4 with two RBI, and Rhineberger, Sivon, Pentek, Henderson, and Tharp also recorded hits in the win.

    Logan Buehner earned the win on the mound after allowing six earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. Aiden Bowman worked a scoreless inning of relief, and Pentek earned the save, allowing two hits with a strikeout in one inning.

    “Part of (our offensive success) is our team speed and executing things,” Platt said. “Doing the little things right here and there, executing those little things is so important. We talk about it all the time in practice.”

    With the win, the Pirates improved to 22-6 and will play Waynedale for the regional title at Massillon High School on Friday.

    “I assumed that coming into this season with the seniors and ballclub that we have, we had a chance to have a very special season,” Platt said. “These guys have answered the bell all the time. They’ve earned moments like this. I’m very proud of them.”

     

     

     

     

     

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