Hill, AC feet short of win over Cavs
IT WAS THAT CLOSE...â€”Centralâ€™s Kyle Baker tries to avoid the tag at home in a loss against Canterbury on Saturday. The Jets missed repeating as sectional champions in a 2-1 loss to the Cavaliers who went on to top Woodlan, 1-0 for the crown. (Photo by Kalvin Fiechter)
MONROE— Both Adams Central and South Adams advanced to the sectional baseball semi-finals on Saturday but neither would make it to the championship slate as Canterbury topped Woodlan, 1-0, in their first year in the 2A class.
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Central drew the Cavaliers of Canterbury after downing Bluffton last week in the opening round and a dramatic catch in left field made the difference between extra innings and a loss for the Jets in game one, 2-1.
Reserving their future-Xavier product, Matt Kent, in hopes of using him in the championship, Canterbury elected to pitch Chris Hoffman who pitched like a number one Saturday, shutting down the Jets for just one run on six scattered hits with four walks and an impressive 14 strikeouts for the complete game victory.
With the score 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Conner Lengerich slapped his second hit of the day, a single, to put the tying run on base. Luke Liter layed down a solid sacrifice bunt to move Lengerich over to second setting up the three-hole senior Cooper Hill in a two-out drama-laden final confrontation.
After running the count to 2-2, Hill picked out a pitch he liked and sent it smoking to deep left field. Canterbury outfielder Robert Jones gave chase and in the last moment dove towards the warning track coming up with the play of the game and a game-saving catch to crush the Jets' comeback hopes.
"It felt like a bomb off my bat," recalled Hill after the game. "That ball either goes over his head and I'm the hero or he catches it and he is. That's just baseball, I guess."
Hill was a big source of the Jets' only run of the game as well in the first frame when Lengerich tripled the fence. Two batters later, Hill stroked a double to left-centerfield to give AC the 1-0 lead.
"I was definitely happy with that first hit but I was disappointed with my two K's on the day being my last game ever," Hill noted. "We played great as a team staying in it, though."
Canterbury entered the sectional as the #11-ranked team in class 2A and the Jets simply could not muster offense consistently against Hoffman on the mound.
The junior would strike out the side in the first inning despite a walk to Kyle Baker getting out of further damage. He would strike out two more in the second and all three batters faced in the third dominating the Central batters in a groove.