By Brad Morris
Logan Smith pitched a two-hitter on Wednesday to help Circleville defeat host Sheridan 8-1 in a Division II Southeast District sectional final.
The Circleville southpaw allowed an earned run, walked two batters, hit another and struck out nine in his 109-pitch complete game, 68 of which were strikes.
“Sheridan batted a fully right-handed lineup and Logan’s changeup is really tough on righties when he has good command of it, like he did tonight,” Circleville coach Brian Bigam said. “It’s fun to call pitches for Logan, because he can throw any of his four pitches on any count.
“When Sheridan did get a runner on base, Logan typically responded with a big strikeout. Logan is a tremendous competitor, and he was dealing tonight.”
The seventh-seeded Tigers jumped scored the first seven runs of a sectional final on their way to upsetting the second-seeded Generals, who won the Muskingum Valley League’s Big School Division.
Circleville (18-11) dented the plate for the first time in the second inning.
Logan Smith led off the inning by lining a center to single. He advanced to third when Trent Smith laid down a sacrifice bunt that the third baseman fielded and fired an errant throw past first base.
JD Reuter then reached on the second error of the inning by the third baseman, allowing Logan Smith to score.
“We came out and did a nice job with our small ball of getting bunts down and pushing the pace of the game, although we made a few base running mistakes that we need to clean up moving forward,” Bigam said.
Circleville began to stretch its advantage with a three-run third.
Scott Moats was hit by a pitch and advanced to second when Austin Gray lined a single off the pitcher.
Tate DeBord followed with a double to center that drove in Moats and allowed Gray to advance to third.
After a foul tip, back-to-back RBI singles to left by Logan Smith and Trent Smith drove in Gray and DeBord.
The Tigers tacked on three more runs in the fourth, pushing their lead to 7-0.
Matt Bradley reached on a bunt to start the inning and an errant throw by the third baseman on a sacrifice bunt by Moats allowed the runners to advance to second and third.
After a strikeout, DeBord lined a 2-1 offering to right that drove in Bradley.
Nolan West followed with an RBI single to center to knock in Moats and Logan Smith reached on another error by the third baseman that drove in pinch-runner Parker Kidwell.
Sheridan (23-5) scored its lone run in its half of the fourth on a solo homer over the center field fence by Caden Sheridan.
Logan Smith helped his own cause by going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored and DeBord was 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Trent Smith, JD Ruter, Angelo Travis each singled and scored.
“Logan and Tate both had nice nights at the plate and hit some line drives, and it was nice to get contributions from different parts of our lineup,” Bigam said.
The Tigers are slated to travel to Ohio University on Monday to take on Scioto Valley Conference champion Unioto (24-2) in a district semifinal. First pitch is slated for approximately 7 p.m., following the first district semifinal between Washington Court House and Jackson.