By John Bombatch
CENTERVILLE — Some late-game Beavercreek errors, combined with a solid pitching performance by Bellefontaine’s Tyler Jones, ended the Beavers’ season on Thursday, in the Division I sectional baseball final at Centerville High School’s Booster Park.
Sixth seeded Bellefontaine upset no. 3-seed Beavercreek, 3-1.
Beavercreek (22-7) scored its only run in the fourth when Brandon DeWitt singled home senior Jackson Back.
The Chieftains (22-7) tied the game at 1-all in the fifth inning. Bellefontaine’s Sam Martz stole second, causing a bad throw from the Beavercreek catcher to skid out into centerfield on the play. That enabled the Chieftains’ Johnny Ganson to race home with the tying run.
Then in the sixth inning, an errant throw from second to first on a groundout enabled Bellefontaine’s Lane Wisner and Ganson to score to go up 3-1.
“It’s baseball,” said Beavercreek coach Brandon Long. “We’ve been playing pretty solid defense of late, but (the errors) happened today. We didn’t make solid plays and they capitalized. Lots of respect to them.”
Bellefontaine’s Jones limited Beavercreek to four hits. The future University of Dayton Flyer had four strikeouts in the complete-game win. Aside from senior Ben Weese reaching base on a Bellefontaine error, the Beavers failed to get on base in the final three innings of play.
“I’m as proud as heck of our kids for competing in this game. It might not be the prettiest thing on the baseball field, but our kids compete real hard and they lay it on the line for each other,” Bellefontaine coach Art Caudill said. “A pitcher like Tyler Jones will always give you a shot, and I’m proud of him because of all the work and time that he’s put into this program. It’s just great to see him have some success come along with it. It’s good karma for Tyler and the Chieftains.”
Beavers senior pitcher and future Virginia Cavalier Jackson Tedder limited the Chieftains to five hits and four walks while striking out seven, but Beavercreek’s five errors were the difference.
“His pitch count was up in the 120’s, so he was close to coming out. But when the game’s on the line, Jackson Tedder is going to be our guy on the mound. And when he’s not out there, “JB” (Jackson Back) is the guy,” Long said. “Tedder threw well for us tonight.”
Back led the Beavers in hits with two, and DeWitt and Weese had the other two.
Beavercreek graduates 10 seniors — Alec Shanks, Ben Wiles, Drew Prater, Back, Dustin Salyers, Tanner Conover, Hunter Maloney, Tedder, Chad Anders and Weese — from its 18-man roster.
“Those are 10 seniors who really worked their tails off,” Long said. “Jackson Back and Jackson Tedder are both four-year varsity guys who are going on to pitch at the next level. You know they’ll make us proud. We’re just going to reboot and get after it next year.”
Bellefontaine will now play Loveland, a 3-2 winner Thursday over Mason, in the next round. That contest is set for 3 p.m. back at Centerville High School.