Ohio Spotlight Game: D-IV State Semifinal - #21 Russia vs Dalton

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By: Bruce Hefflinger
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Ohio Spotlight Game: D-IV State Semifinal - #21 Russia vs Dalton

COLUMBUS – An RBI single by Evan Monnier with two outs in the bottom of the seventh gave Russia a berth in the Division IV state finals with a 7-6 victory over Dalton in the semifinals on Friday afternoon.

The 21st-ranked Raiders will take on Minster for the title at 1 p.m. Saturday. The schools, which are 13 miles apart, met in the second game of the season with Russia a 17-6 winner.

After Dalton tied the game with a run in the top of the seventh on a bunt single from Kenton Troyer after a Derek Gerber triple, Dylan Cordonnier led off the bottom of the inning with a single to right-center field, his third hit of the game for Russia. A Drew Sherman sac bunt and an intentional walk to Hunter Cohee followed before a ground out to third moved up the runners. Monnier then ended the game lining a 3-2 pitch up the middle to score Cordonnier.

It made a winner of Jack Dapore, who came on in relief of Cohee with runners on first and third and nobody out in the top of the seventh clinging to a one-run lead. After Troyer’s bunt tied it, Dapore retired Alex Alger on a foul out before Mitchell Clark grounded into a 4-3 double play to end the frame.

Clark had walked and scored the first Dalton run in the second and an inning later put the Bulldogs in front with a three-run double down the left-field line after a two-out single by Andrew Kandel and walks to Troyer and Alger.

Russia drew first blood in the bottom of the first on a Cordonnier single, a walk to Cohee, a run-scoring single by Kevin Drees and a passed ball.

But Dalton pitcher Adam Manley shut down the Raiders the next three innings before Russia went in front with a four-spot in the last of the fifth. Clay George led off with a double, Trenton Monnin was hit by a pitch and Dion Puthoff loaded the bases with a bunt single before Cordonnier cleared the bags with a double to left-center field. After a lineout, Cohee singled in Cordonnier for a 6-4 Russia lead.

An Eric Summers sac fly cut the deficit in half in the top of the sixth to score Clark who opened the frame with a base hit.

Hot Takes

Key play: Russia’s four-run fifth came with a little help. After a lead-off double, Monnin was hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count. A sac bunt then turned into a base hit with nobody on Dalton covering first. After falling behind 0-2, Cordonnier hit a 1-2 pitch to give the Raiders a lead.

Key play II: Dapore showed off his arm in the third preventing what could have been a big inning for Dalton. With one down, an apparent base hit to right turned into a 9-3 out when Dapore rifled a throw to first for out number two. A single, two walks and a double followed, but a three-run frame might have been more if not for the Dapore assist.

Strong in defeat: Clark hit the ball hard in his final game as a member of the Bulldogs with two hits, three RBIs and a pair of runs scored while also drawing a walk.

Player of the game: Cordonner not only scored the game-winning run but also the first Russia tally and another in between in the four-run fifth. Two singles and a double added up to three RBIs for the senior center fielder of the Raiders.

Cordonnier on hit in 7th: “I just knew at this point it was never giving up, we just had to make something happen. It’s also best to get the lead runner on, just trying my best to get that done.”

Season finale: An 11-loss regular season had Dalton unranked, but the Bulldogs managed three one-run tournament victories along a tournament trail that included wins over fourth-ranked Western Reserve and fifth-ranked New Riegel in the regionals.

What’s next?: Eight starters are back for Dalton in addition to the return of top pitcher Manley. Replacing Clark in center field is a void that must be replaced. Russia is now 3-0 in state semifinal games and now looks to win a state crown for the second time, the other coming in 1971 when the Raiders went 17-0.


Dalton       013 001 1 - 6  7 0
Russia      200 040 1 - 7 10 1  

Records: Russia 24-6, Dalton 16-12.

Winning Pitcher: Jack Dapore (1 inning, 0 runs, 0 earned, 1 hit, 0 strikeouts, 0 walks). Other: Hunter Cohee (6 innings, 6 runs, 6 earned, 6 hits, 2 strikeouts, 4 walks).

Losing Pitcher: Alex Alger (0.2 innings, 1 run, 1 earned, 2 hits, 0 strikeouts, 1 walk). Other: Adam Manley (6 innings, 6 runs, 5 earned, 8 hits, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk).

Leading Hitters: (Dalton) - Andrew Kandel single; Kenton Troyer single, double; Mitchell Clark single, double, 3 RBIs; Cole Geiser single; Derek Gerber triple. (Russia) - Dion Puthoff single; Dylan Cordonnier 2 singles, double, 3 RBIs, 3 runs; Hunter Cohee single; Kevin Drees single; Evan Monnier single; Jack Dapore single Clay George single, double.