Sat May 19, 2012
By Dylan Hefflinger
BRYAN- Tinora jumped out to a big lead and held on to beat No. 25 North Central 8-6 on Friday in the district finals at Bryan's Sumpter Field. This is Tinora's third district title in four years.
The Rams jumped out to a 5-0 lead, keyed by a four-run fourth inning. Senior second basemen Lincoln Cereghin, who walked and scored on an double by senior Austin Farrington for the first Tinora run in the third, hit a single to open the fourth and eventually came home along with Farrington on a North Central error.
Senior Chris Wityk had a huge two-out, two-run single to right.
Unsigned senior Tyler McKenney came in for Tinora starter Reid Renollet in the 5th with a 5-0 lead and all looked bleak for North Central.
McKenney came in with a 0.53 ERA, allowing just four earned runs the entire season.
Talented junior Jalen Dancer's RBI double, a run-scoring single by sophomore shortstop Clayton Ferguson and a two-run single by Taylor University recruit Ryan Masters helped make it a one-run game at 5-4.
Despite McKenney's troubles, coming in to pitch after throwing 79 pitches in seven innings of Wednesday's 3-1 win over No. 24 Edon, Brent Renollet, Tinora's coach stayed with his senior.
With the Rams up 5-4, sophomore three-hole hitter Clay Pittman reached on a one-out single bringing an end to senior Bryce Ely's time on the mound. The Eagles went to junior Kole Peterson, who like McKenney went seven innings two days prior.
Senior Nate Beck followed with a base hit to move Pittman to third and then the Rams turned to the base paths.
A delay double steal ended with Pittman scoring and Beck moving to third on miscommunication by the Eagles middle infield. With Beck racing home on a squeeze play, Wityk missed on the bunt but the ball got away and Beck slid in for the steal of home to make it 7-4.
After missing the squeeze, Wityk reached on an infield single and one out later McKenney hit a single to right-center. When the throw to the infield was mishandled, Wityk hustled in for an 8-4 edge.
The insurance runs proved huge, as North Central added two in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out, two-run double by Anton King but McKeeney got out of the jam with a pop out.
Sophomore left-hander Reid Renollet went four innings allowing just two hits, while striking out four. Renollet's fastball was in the upper 70s with two good off-speed pitches, the curve in the mid-60s with a sharp break and a downward moving change-up in the 60s.
The Eagles finished ranked No. 25 in the final poll with a 20-6 record for head coach Eric Smeltzer, and bring back a lot of talent for next season.
Tinora, ranked No. 2 in the state, faces off against Gibsonburg (21-7) who knocked off No. 1 Hopewell-Loudon 5-2 in the Bath District finals. Gibsonburg and Tinora play Thursday at Patrick Henry at 5 p.m. in the regional semifinals.