After holding off Madison’s seventh-inning rally in the sectional semifinal, the Lions were faced with trying to stop a Franklin County rally Monday in the sectional title game. Unfortunately for the Lions, the Wildcats scored two runs with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to get past the Lions 3-2 and claim the sectional crown.
Franklin County took the early lead as lead-off hitter Michael Sorrells singled and scored on the two-out single by Ben Wewe.
The Lions responded in the top of the second to knot the game at 1-1. John Riddell doubled to the left center field gap and went to third on a ground ball by Hunter Orme. Starting pitcher Mark Busald helped his own cause with an RBI single to score Riddell. Brian Busald also singled in the inning for the Lions and Austin Maggard reached on Franklin County’s second error of the game.
In the top of the third, Austin Niehoff singled to left field with one out and went to second on the sacrifice bunt by Riddell. That was all for the Lions in the frame. Franklin County had a single by Ken Jones in the home-half of the third as the game remained 1-1.
Mark Busald drew a walk to open the top of the fourth and Chase Hamilton ran for the Lion pitcher. Hamilton went to second on a throwing error by the pitcher and to third on a wild pitch. Brian Busald walked and Brad Busald reached on another error as the Lions took the 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats threatened to even the game in the bottom of the fourth. Casey Wagner was hit by a pitch and stole second base. A sacrifice bunt by Dusty Foreman moved Wagner to third. Mark Busald got the next Wildcat on strikes. Brett Ortman then drove the ball for what looked like was going to be an RBI hit to left center field, but Rushville’s Brian Busald made a great, leaping catch to end the inning.
James Brashaber led off the fifth with a single to right. With one out, Riddell singled to center and Brashaber went to third. Riddell stole second, but the next two Lions were retired on fly balls to move the game to the bottom of the fifth.
Brett Campbell singled with one out and stole second. Zach Sizemore followed with a walk, but Mark Busald got out of the jam with a strike out and pop out to Kyle Hoeing at second base.
With two outs in the sixth, Maggard drew a walk and Hoeing singled up the middle. A strike out ended the threat for the Lions.
In the bottom of the third, Wagner singled and went to second on a ground ball by Foreman. With two outs, Wagner attempted to steal third. Maggard’s throw from behind the plate towards third hit the Wildcat batter and the ball left the field. Wagner was awarded third base. After Ortman was hit by a pitch, Busald got a pop out to Orme at shortstop to end the inning.
Riddell singled in the seventh, stole second and went to third on a Franklin County throwing error. The Lions could not add an insurance run as the Wildcats came to the plate down to third last three outs.
Campbell singled and stole second to open the seventh. A ground-rule double off the bat of Ken Jones scored Campbell to tie the game 2-2. The Lions intentionally walked Wewe to set up a force at any base, but Wagner singled up the middle to score Jones with winning run.
Mark Busald pitched 6 1/3 innings for the Lions allowing three earned runs on 10 hits, three hit batters and one walk while striking out seven. Campbell started for the Wildcats and went four innings allowing two runs on four hits and no walks while striking out four. Sorrells finished on the hill for the Wildcats allowing no runs on four hits and one walk while striking out one.
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222, ext. 114