Travelers one victory away from a title

ADRIAN, Michigan – After scoring 13 runs in Friday’s play-in game against the Tiffin Saints, the question was whether the Ohio Travelers would be able to carry that offensive momentum into the Independent Baseball League Championship Series at Adrian.

The answer was a resounding yes, and now the Travelers are one win away from a title.

Eric Underwood hit a three run homer – part of a six run first inning – and Ohio fought off a late Pioneer surge to win Game 1, 10-8.

The Travelers can win the IBL championship by beating the Pioneers in Game 2 today, which is scheduled for a noon start. Should the Pioneers win Game 2, there will be a decisive third game a half hour after the first game ends.

“Big win,” said Travelers’ manager Jay Zeiter. “We had to hold on to get the win. We made a few errors and made the game closer than it should have been.”

Underwood homered and doubled in the victory, while teammate Jacob Zeiter had two hits and Corey Metoyer had a two-run single. Anthony Ragos had three hits, while Anthony Waterloo had an RBI single.

Masa Miyadera and Kenta Nishii also provided singles.

Jay Zeiter said his team got going right away.

“That first inning we came out and hit the ball all over the place,” he said. “Obviously the three-run homer helps, but we scored three runs after the homer.”

The win went to starting pitcher Josh Masin, whowent five innings and allowed four runs, but only one was earned.

“He pitched well,” Jay Zeiter said. “He had trouble locating and walked six, (but) he was kept us in the game and kept them from having a big inning. He battled through it when we didn’t play all that well behind him.”

Ryan Neely relieved Masin and went two innings. He allowed three runs, but only two were earned. Closer James Coleman pitched the last two innings for the Travelers and allowed a run in getting the save.

He also had help from his defense. Miyadera, the shortstop, made a back-handed stab of a line drive in the ninth, and left fielder Waterloo ended the game by cutting a runner down at third.

Zeiter said Josh Weber will pitch the first game today.

“We’d like to win the first game and not worry about the second game,” the manager said.