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    Waynedale ends Perry’s season in regional championship game

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    MASSILLON–Perry’s first run to the regional championship round since 2024 ended on Friday with an 8-3 loss to Applecreek Waynedale, the 2022 and 2023 Division III state champions.

    The Pirates opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first, but the Golden Bears scored eight unanswered runs in advancing to a third straight state Final Four.

    “(Waynedale) hit the ball hard all night, we made plays (defensively), but they finally found some holes,” said Perry head coach Matt Platt. “They really got some of the in-between stuff. We talked about how we wanted to ‘Hold our water,’ but tonight, the dam broke on us a little bit. But, we are where we are because of our mentality; the guys did a great job.”

    Luke Sivon singled and Owen McKoon was hit by a pitch to start the Perry first. Sivon moved to third on Sam Tharp’s flyout and McKoon stole second. After Cade Henderson was intentionally walked, Trent Taylor singled home two runs.

    Waynedale’s first two batters in the third reached on singles but Jason Pentek pitched out of that jam to preserve Perry’s lead.

    The Golden Bears cut Perry’s lead to 2-1 with a run in the sixth and they exploded for seven runs in the top of the seventh.

    Waynedale’s first five batters of the inning singled and the Golden Bears finished the frame with seven runs on six hits, a walk, and an error.

    Kyle Rhineberger singled and scored on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, but Perry’s rally ended with a flyout to right field.

    Sivon ended the game 2-for-3 while Taylor was 1-for-3 with two runs batted in.

    Brody Petruccelli, Rhineberger, Logan Buehner, and Jason Pentek all recorded base hits.

    Pentek took the loss after allowing three earned runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. McKoon allowed four runs on three hits and Aiden Bowman pitched one scoreless inning with a strikeout.

    Although Perry’s magical season has ended, it was a memorable ride for the Pirates, who finished with 22 wins along with conference, sectional, and district titles to their credit.

    “It was a lot of fun,” Platt said. “Our coaching staff felt like we had a great team (for this season) way back when last year ended. We took a trip to Arizona (for spring break) for a reason: we thought we would be good and wanted those reps early on. Our expectations were always high, and we were winning six innings of a ball game tonight; we just couldn’t finish the job.”

    Perry sends off four seniors who have been part of a new standard within the program, and with a large number of underclassmen ready and waiting, this may only be the beginning for the Pirates.

    “These guys have raised the expectations of this program for years to come,” Platt said of his seniors. “You look at what Aiden Bowman and Jason Pentek have done, and we have over 60 innings (of pitching) to replace next year. Those two guys contribute so much; Sam Tharp did a great job this year. Before his injury, during his injury, and after his injury, he did a good job of keeping the team together. He is that senior leader for us. And Carson Schafer was called on a couple of times in tough situations and answered the bell. What these guys have done for us is invaluable.”

    These seniors have mentored the younger guys to step up and step into more prominent roles for next season.

    “(The seniors) brought some young guys with them here to show them what it’s like,” Platt said. “Hopefully, the contributions these seniors have made over these can really echo throughout the program and raise the expectation for years to come.”

     

     

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