Seneca East walks away a winner

NORTH ROBINSON – It’s open to interpretation whether Seneca East’s win over Crestline in the Division IV district semifinals at Colonel Crawford qualified as a walkoff.

Yes, the Tigers’ Gus Baldosser did rip a ball over the heads of the drawn-in Bulldog outfielders, and yes, Jordan Boweman came home to score his third run of the day, ending the contest the moment his cleats touched home plate.

The problem with characterizing it with one of baseball most oft-repeated buzzwords is that the drama had disappeared about 90 minutes earlier, when Seneca East scored six runs in the second inning to take an 8-1 lead. The Tigers added single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, while the Bulldogs were stifled first by Ethan Caudill, and then by Dalton Wise.

So when Bowerman reached the plate in the sixth, he didn’t break a tie. He solidified an 11-1 run-rule victory which sent Seneca East to Friday’s district final here against Colonel Crawford.

That much isn’t open to interpretation.

“We’re just trying to be aggressive,” said Seneca East coach Frank Lamoreaux, who’s squad improved to 22-4 this season. “We’ve done a pretty decent job of moving guys around and and keeping the pressure on the defense.”

While the Tigers asserted themselves once they got on base, they needed patience to get there. Crestline starting pitcher Brian Barnett had problems with his control, walking two batters in SE’s two-run first, then walking another three in the second. Barnett was removed after 1 2/3 innings, but his replacement, Austin Norwood, fared little better, walking another two batters – sandwiched around a two-run single by Adam Bauman – before being replaced himself.

“You’ve just got to be patient up there, look for your pitch,” Bauman said after a two-hit, three-RBI day. “I think we did that tonight.”

While Bulldog pitchers were fighting a losing battle with the strike zone, Caudill was peppering it, mixing his pitches and keeping Crestline batters off balance.

Caudill, who didn’t walk a batter in his five innings of work, allowed a run in the second before shutting down Crestline. He fanned 10 batters and yielded three base hits.

“We try to mix it up a lot,” said Bauman, the Tiger catcher. “He’s got three different pitches that he likes to throw; he’ll mix it up at any time and throw them all for strikes. He does a good job.”

“I pitched five innings on Friday, so my arm was a little tired,” Caudill said. “I just had to hit my spots tonight, throw good curve balls, and the defense behind me played great today.”

Caudill also had a nice day at the plate, with a pair of singles, two runs and an RBI. Mason McWilliams – who Lamoreaux said will start Friday’s final – had a double, an RBI and two runs. Wise singled, scored and drove in a run. He also pitched a scoreless sixth.

The Tigers had 11 hits off Bulldog pitching.

Jeremiah McDowell drove in Crestline’s only run with a groundout in the second. Norwood doubled, and Hunter Swanger scored the Bulldogs’ only run.

Barnett suffered the loss.