By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
HAMILTON – East Union coach Chris Basil knows what he’s got with his ace, Cody Dillard.
With two runners on in the bottom of the seventh and an 8-5 lead, Basil trusted Dillard to work out of the jam, and the lefty forced Hamilton designated hitter Alan Baty into a pop up in foul territory to pull out the win for the Urchins (10-8, 5-1 Division 1-2A).
“He got tired, and I probably should have pulled him,” Basil said of Dillard. “But he’s our hoss, and we’re going to ride him as long as we can.”
Hamilton (7-6, 4-2 Division 1-2A) took a 3-0 lead in the second and held it until the fifth. Seth Dement and Gage Morris opened the second with back-to-back singles, and Tanner Dement knocked them both in with a two-run double. Starting pitcher John Wesley Imel sent Dement home on an RBI groundout.
East Union got on the board in the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles from Dillard and Tray Davis. Dillard came home when Austin Sanders reached on an error.
The Urchins took the lead for good in the fifth with a two-run homer from Dustin Pratt.
Austin Basil and Tyler Hutcheson’s RBI singles stretched the lead to 6-3.
In the sixth, Pratt reached and got to third on a pair of Hamilton errors and scored when Dillard got caught in a rundown between first and second.
The Lions started to chip away at the lead late in the game, adding an RBI single from Seth Dement in the sixth and starting their rally in the seventh with two out when Nick Owens doubled and scored on a wild pitch before Dillard retired Baty to work out of the jam.
“They were able to put the bat on the ball and make some things happen tonight, and we didn’t,” Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest said. “We got good hits, but we didn’t have runners on ahead of them.”