FAIRMONT - With the score tied and runners at the corners, Fairmont's Max Waletich beat out a grounder to the Jackson shortstop to knock in Tanner Nawrocki with the winning run in a 12-11 Region 13C amateur baseball playoff victory over the Bulls in Fairmont on Wednesday night.
The Martins (28-6) travel to Jackson for Game 2 of the best-of-3 regional championship series at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
Both Fairmont and Jackson already have clinched state bids, with the series determining the regional champion and the No. 1 seed out of 13C.
COVERING — Fairmont Martins pitcher Taylor Nawrocki uses his bare hand to catch a flip from first baseman Adam Schmidt (31) while covering first base during Game 1 of the Region 13C amateur baseball championship’s best-of-3 series Wednesday night at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. (Photo by Kjestine Steinbring)
Trailing 11-8 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Jordan Petschke started the scoring rally with a four-pitch walk. Ian Bents followed with a sharp grounder to the Bulls second baseman, who tried to start a double play that was unsuccessful, leaving runners on first and second.
Alex Schmidt singled to right-center to load the bases. Tanner Nawrocki delivered an RBI single to left to score Petschke and Bents. An overthrow to third base scored pinch runner Logan Peymann to tie the game.
Fairmont got on the board first in the first inning when Jon Ellis scored after hitting a lead-off triple to center. Shaun McGuire singled home Ellis to give the Martins a lead.
After Jackson scored two in the second inning, Fairmont added four more runs in the second to make it 5-2.
Taylor Nawrocki, the Fairmont starter, walked four batters in the third before coming out with an injury.
The Bulls scored seven in the third with the help of an RBI double by Andy Wolf to right to take a 9-5 lead.
Petschke led off the third for Fairmont with a single past the second baseman. Bents moved Petschke to second with a single to right, and Tanner Nawrocki collected an RBI on a single through the left side of the infield to score Petschke.
Petschke also collected an RBI in the fourth when he drove in Adam Schmidt on a double to right field to make it 9-6.
Alex Schmidt singled to start the fifth-inning rally, then wheeled to second on Tanner Nawrocki's single to left center.
Ellis loaded the bases with a single before Schmidt scored on Aaron Siefken's fielder's choice.
Both teams were held scoreless through the sixth and seventh innings before the Bulls added to their lead in the eighth.
A lead-off walk to Jason Cook started the rally for Jackson. Cook took second on a bunt hit by Wolf, and then scored on a single by Ryan Rasche.
Another bunt single by Pat Rients loaded the bases again before a sacrifice fly by Marcus Schultz scored Wolf from third.
Fairmont recorded a double play on a grounder to first base to get out of the jam with a chance to win the game.
Tanner Nawrocki went 3-for-4 with four runs scored and an RBI to lead the Fairmont offense. Ellis went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Petschke went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Siefken pitched six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out eight to earn the win.
Jackson's Caleb Rossow pitched the final inning of relief, allowing three runs on three hits and striking out one to take the loss.
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Ryan Rasche, Pat Boggess (3), Brennan Holm (6), Caleb Rossow (9, LP) and Marcus Schultz. Taylor Nawrocki, Shaun McGuire (3), Aaron Siefken (4, WP) and Alex Schmidt.