KIRTLAND—Andrew Spencer didn’t have his best stuff on the mound, but his bat worked overtime in leading Kirtland to a 14-4 five-inning win over visiting Orrville in a Division III sectional championship on Wednesday at Recreation Park.
Spencer allowed one hit with two hit batsmen and a walk in the first inning as Orrville capitalized with a three-run inning. Two errors in the inning also hurt the Hornets.
“Before the game, we were really flat, even during warmups,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “We’ve got to come out ready to play but we didn’t. We can’t do that again.”
Led by Spencer, who was 4-for-4 at the plate with five runs batted in, the Hornets rallied for five runs in both the second and third innings and added four more in the fourth to invoke the run rule.
“We were able to get the bat on the ball and move guys around and do what we had to do at the plate,” Smrdel said. “We put the ball in play and made their defense work. That’s what you have to do in the tournament.”
Anthony DeMarco reached on an error with one out to start the second inning rally. Mason Rus then drew a two-out walk and Reese VanArnhem and Spencer hit back-to-back singles. Mason Sullivan doubled home the tying run and Danny Davidson walked to load the bases. Gage Sullivan followed with a two-run single that gave the Hornets a 5-3 lead.
DeMarco singled to jumpstart the Hornets’ third-inning rally.
Adam Knaak then reached on an error that scored DeMarco and Rus drew a walk. Spencer followed with an RBI single and Mason Sullivan doubled to put runners at second and third. A balk led to another Hornet run.
Pierce Boyd singled and scored on a Rus single in the fourth.
“A lot of guys stepped up today and that’s what we need, 1-9 stepping up in any situation to get the clutch hit,” Smrdel said. “We got production from the top and bottom. We got the bat on the ball and we survived and advanced.”
Mason Sullivan finished the game 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBI, but the day belonged to Spencer, who allowed two earned runs on four hits and struck out five in the five-inning complete game.
“It was a great effort,” Smrdel said of his pitcher turned slugger. “He didn’t have his best stuff but he battled through it and that’s what you love to see out of your ace. He goes out there and battles and does what he has to do and he gets it done at the plate too. He really won the game for us.”
Kirtland (19-7) advanced to the Division III Struthers District where the Hornets will play Elyria Catholic in a semifinal on Monday at 5:00 p.m.