SYLVANIA – The Sylvania Rams had their 2019 season come to an end Friday in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs after a pair of hard-fought losses to the Winfield Pirates at Sylvania City Park.
The Rams had late-inning comeback attempts come up short in both contests. Winfield will face Phil Campbell in the third round.
Here are recaps of both games:
The Pirate had a fast start at the plate in the series opener.
A leadoff walk followed by an error allowed Winfield to plate a run in the top of the first of Friday’s first game.
The Pirates then rallied for three more runs in the top of the second after hitting a triple, a single, drawing a walk and having three batters get hit by pitches.
The score could have been tilted even more in Winfield’s favor early, but the Rams forced a pop fly with the bases loaded to escape any further damage.
Sylvania starting pitcher Drake Casey then settled in and retired eight of the next 11 batters he faced and kept the Pirates from padding their lead over his last three innings on the mound.
Sylvania’s lineup gave themselves chances to cut into the lead early, but they stranded runners on base in the second and third innings before finally powering through for a run in the bottom of the fourth.
That fourth-inning rally started with a leadoff double from Brody Smith. He went to third and then scored on a pair of passed balls to make the score 4-1.
The Rams’ lineup heated up even more in the fifth after Nathan King reached on a grounder that was misplayed by Winfield’s shortstop.
King went to second on a balk before Bo Jordan had a long at-bat where he fouled off three consecutive pitches before ripping a single up the middle.
Jordan’s single was misplayed in the outfield and allowed King to score and Jordan to move into scoring position.
After Gurley smoked a pitch right at the Pirates’ left fielder for the first out of the inning, Gareth Anderson smacked an RBI double to center field that scored Jordan and cut the lead to one.
Casey then flied out to right field and Anderson tried to tag up from second and advance to third. The throw to third was in time to tag Anderson out though and allowed the Pirates to keep their lead intact at 4-3.
The Pirates then answered with two runs in the top of the sixth to make the score 6-3.
Sylvania then kept trying to pound away in the bottom of the sixth.
Riley Johnson hit a 1-out double and scored two batters later on an RBI single from Fisher Goza, but that was as close as the Rams would get to mounting a comeback.
Goza was stranded at first after his single and the Rams went down in order in the seventh to seal the win for Winfield.
In five innings on the mound, Casey struck out four, walked three and gave up four earned runs on four hits.
Eli Gurley then struck out one and gave up one unearned run over the last two frames.
Goza led Sylvania’s lineup batting 3-for-3 with a trio of singles and an RBI.
Anderson doubled and had an RBI and Smith, Johnson, Preston Holcomb and Jordan all had one hit each.
Friday’s second matchup between the Rams and Pirates started with a bang for Sylvania, but ended with Winfield coming back to earn a 2-game sweep.
Eli Gurley led off the game with a single up the middle. Three batters later with two outs, Brody Smith crushed a 2-1 pitch to the trees beyond the left-field wall for a 2-run homer.
Winfield struck back in their half of the first with a solo homer from Jackson Elkins. The Pirates tied the game at 2-all an inning later when a pickoff attempt to first that rolled into the outfield allowed a runner to score.
Winfield’s lineup then caught fire in the third for a 5-run rally that put them ahead 7-2.
The Rams tried to chip away at the lead in the four with two runners in scoring position after a single from Preston Holcomb and a double from Winston Wilks, but Sylvania stranded both runners.
The Rams were unable to answer back until the top of the sixth when Holcomb led off with a single to left field.
Holcomb went to second on a passed ball and scored on an RBI double from Nathan King.
A single from Wilks and a walk to Eli Gurley then loaded the bases with one out and put the potential tying run at the plate.
Gareth Anderson singled to right field to move everyone up 90 feet and drove in King, but Winfield escaped further damage with a strikeout and a fly out to end the rally.
The Pirates then took advantage of two errors and three walks to plate two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sylvania then went down in four batters in the seventh to give the series win to the Pirates.
The Rams used four pitchers in the game. Smith struck two and walked three in two innings. Gurley then struck out six over the next three innings. Fisher Goza struck out two in the sixth and Riley Johnson fired one pitch and forced a fly out to close out that inning.
Wilks was 2-for-2 with a single and a double. Gurley and Holcomb both batted 2-for-3 with two singles, a run scored and a walk each.
Smith’s homer gave him two RBIs and Anderson and King drove in one each.