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The Journal Gazette

Friday, May 25, 2018 9:50 pm

Carroll beats Snider in sectional semifinal

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Falling behind after the first batter of the game would deflate a lot of teams, especially in a single-elimination sectional matchup.

Carroll's baseball team faced that situation against Snider on Friday when Panthers leadoff hitter Breidon Pierce launched a homer to left to open the game. Instead of folding, however, the Chargers stayed focused.

"Baseball's kind of crazy," Chargers leadoff hitter Langston Ginder said. "They started off with a home run, but we had (seven) innings left and we knew that one through nine we had kids that are coming in and competing."

The host Chargers responded after the leadoff homer and kept tacking on extra runs in the later innings to claim a 9-2 victory in the 3A sectional semifinals.

Carroll will play at noon Monday for the sectional title.

The Chargers evened the score in the bottom of the first on a passed ball after Ginder had pulled a triple to the left-center gap and went ahead in the second when designated hitter Micah Fretz drove a no-doubt home run to left, his second homer of the season. Ginder doubled later in the inning to make it 3-1.

"There's not a single guy in our lineup that we don't have confidence in," Ginder said. "We just went out, competed, continued to just do the little things."

Mississippi State-bound catcher Hayden Jones also emphasized his team's willingness to do the little things as a factor in its comeback victory.

"Our infielders really took some pride in their infield, made some diving plays," said Jones, who came into the game batting .518 and just missed a home run on a ball that curved foul by a few feet. "Those little plays to keep them close really helps out later on."

After his team gave him the lead, Carroll (21-7) pitcher Riley Perlich took control. The right-hander labored through the first three innings, giving up two runs and needing 59 pitches, but then settled in. He pitched a complete game and gave up just those two tallies, striking out six Panthers (9-17).

The senior, who will play at Wright State next season, threw more than 100 pitches to run his record to 5-2.

"The biggest thing is having Riley out on the mound," Jones said. "He came out and had one of his best games, I'd say, of the year."

The Chargers are one win away from erasing the memory of their early sectional exit a year ago. They've won five games in a row heading into Monday's title matchup and Jones said they're motivated to get at least one more.

"I think the seniors really have a lot of fire in our butt," the senior backstop said. "(Winning a sectional) is one thing as far as senior wise, we've wanted to do for a long time. We've had that thought in our mind, we don't want to go out there without leaving an impact on this program.

"It's a big program and that's one thing (win a sectional) that we should be able to do. I feel like we can as this team. We've got the talent and everything."

dsinn@jg.net