BRIDGEPORT - The Toronto Red Knights baseball team earned its 18th consecutive sectional title with a 5-0 win over Barnesville Thursday evening in the Ohio Division IV Eastern District sectional tournament on Niekro Diamond.
Shamrock's head coach D.J. Butler knew coming in that it would be a challenge to do what no other team had been able to accomplish since 1995; however, considering the Green's 4-5 start to the season, this would not be the first hurdle Barnesville would have cleared.
Butler decided to call on freshman lefty Mitchell Wells to start on the mound.
NO. 18 — Toronto shortstop Austin Lucas tags out Barnesville’s Zack Dornon as third baseman Austin Lucas crosses in front of the play. Dornon was caught between the bags on a missed hit and run opportunity as the Red Knight s cruised to their 18th consecutive sectional title, 5-0.
-- Mike Mathison
"Mitchell is 4-0 this season and our best defense is behind him when he is pitching," said Butler.
The frosh hurler got into a jam early against the Red Knights' potent line up as lead- off hitter Chez Glenn singled and Austin Lucas drew a full-count walk to put a runner in scoring position.
Shamrock's left fielder Clay Crosier ran down two long fly balls and second baseman Preston Dornon caught a bloop to short right to end the inning.
Mitchell got the lead-off batter in the bottom of the second inning before Toronto pitcher Ralph King singled. The frosh walked the next two batters to load the bases but battled back to retire Glenn in his second trip to the dish on a 3-2 strikeout.
The effort would be for not as the frosh was called for a balk by the base umpire who pointed King homeward. Lucas would send one back up the middle which short stop Austin Hannahs would be able to flag down behind the second base bag but two runs crossed the plate giving Toronto a 3-0 lead.
Butler made the call for third baseman Zack Dornon, who took over on the mound. The problems would continue for Barnesville as a throw back to the mound would tip off Dornon's glove allowing Lucas to race home.
Senior Spenser Sninchak doubled to the right center field gap to plate Owens accounting for all the offense necessary to clinch the win. Dornon would settle in on the mound allowing just two more singles and striking out four batters as Toronto stranded five.
"First and foremost I would like to thank our assistant coaches," said Toronto head coach Brian Perkins. "They did a great job of scouting and preparing our kids for the game.
"It is tournament time, the second season has started and our kids came ready to play. Ralph threw a good game for us and the defense did a great job getting behind him and supporting."
The Red Knights will return to Perkins field Monday afternoon to face off with Steubenville Catholic Central in the Cambridge upper bracket final.
Toronto 5, Barnesville 0
Barnesville 000 000 0 - 0 5 0
Toronto 050 000 x - 5 6 0
BARNESVILLE: M. Wells (LP), Z. Dornan (2) and Plumly.
TORONTO: King (WP) and Solomon; Glenn S; King S; Lucas S, 2rbi; Sninchak D, rbi.