By Zach Baker
LORAIN - Seneca East coach Frank Lamoreaux said Wednesday the key to his team's success was pitching and defense.
In Thursday's regional final, the Tigers got both. Mogadore didn't really get either, and the result is Seneca East's first trip to the regional final since 1997.
The Tigers scored four unearned runs in the first inning, and that was more than enough for starting pitcher Billy Diehm, who won his third postseason start as SE slammed the Wildcats, 9-1.
|Division IV regional semifinal|
|Seneca East 9, Mogadore 1|
|Seneca East (22-8): Jordan Bowerman 2-2-2-1; Billy Diehm 4-1-0-0; Dalton Wise 5-0-2-1; Elliott Little 5-1-3-0; Jason Branham 5-2-1-0; Nate Phillips 0-0-0-0; Kyle Depinet 5-1-1-2; Mason McWilliams 3-2-3-2; Darin Baldosser 3-1-2-0; Ethan Caudill 4-0-1-1. Totals: 36-9-15|
|Mogadore (14-11): Brady Douglas 2-0-0-0; Kevin Boyce 1-0-1-0; Bryce Huth 2-0-0-0; Paul Bertram 1-0-0-0; Gary Strain 3-1-1-0; Sam Graska 3-0-1-0; Joey Callihan 3-0-3-1; Justin Chew 0-0-0-0; Ryan Milush 3-0-0-0; Nick Montecalvo 3-0-0-0; Derek Valenti 0-0-0-0 Anthony Ricci 1-0-0-0; Danny Sentelik 1-0-0-0; Casey Ruppell 2-0-1-0; Brendan Schrock 1-0-0-0. Totals: 26-1-8-1.|
|Seneca East||412 200 0 — 9|
|Mogadore||000 001 0 — 1|
|WP - Diehm (7-1). LP — Montecalvo.|
|2B —Depinet, McWilliams (SE).|
Seneca East (22-8) will be back in Lorain today, playing Cuyahoga Heights. At stake is the first trip to the state tournament in Seneca East history.
The Tigers got things going right away, with a little help from the Wildcats' defense.
Jordan Bowerman was hit by a Nick Montecalvo pitch to start the inning, then Diehm reached on an error by the shortstop. Montecalvo retired the next two batters, but with runners on second and third, Jason Branham slapped a grounder that went through third baseman Sam Graska for an error. Bowerman scored and SE went up 1-0.
Seneca East's Kyle Depinet then scalded a ball to the base of the wall in left center. Two runs scored, and the Tigers led 3-0.
"Kyle's hit was big," Lamoreaux said.
Mason McWilliams followed by ripping a single to right to score Depinet.
Four runs, none earned.
"I don't mean to brag," Depinet said. "But I think that brought our team's (morale) up, and everybody got really excited after that, and you could see it in the other team's faces; their heads were kind of down, and it put us over the top."
Mogadore coach Chris Mossa said his squad came out a little tight.
"It might have been a little nerves," he said. "Big setting ... not knowing what to expect.
"I think jitters. I give (the Tigers) all the credit, man, they can hit the ball."
Seneca East finished with 15 hits. But it was the pitching of Diehm that was perhaps the biggest factor in ending the Wildcats' season.
Diehm pitched all seven innings, allowing only a run in the sixth inning; by then the game was out of hand. He allowed eight hits, striking out seven.
Despite never facing the Wildcats, Diehm said he had a good idea what to expect.
"Our coaches had enough scouting information to where, (they) knew if one batter liked a curveball, or one batter didn't like the fastballs," Diehm said.
On offense, McWilliams finished with three hits and two RBIs. Elliott Lee also had three hits for the Tigers.
Joey Callihan was Mogadore's (14-11) only hitter to have real success against Diehm. He had three hits and drove in a run.
Diehm improved to 7-1. In three postseason starts this spring, he's allowed four runs over 21 innings.
The Wildcats finished with four errors. The Tigers made one.
"It was mainly (due) to the defense again," Diehm said of his strong start. "Just throwing strikes, getting ground balls, popups and the defense being there."