MANLIUS — The Class 2A Bureau Valley Regional Championship was held Saturday morning in Manlius. It was as evenly matched as they come as the Erie-Prophetstown Panthers used a two-run fourth inning to scoot by the St. Bede Academy Bruins 2-1.
Repeating as regional champions, E-P goes to the Morrison Sectional.
“It was a game that I expected. I expected two good lefties, and I expected it to be a tight game of who made the least mistakes and executed,” E-P coach Jason Orman said.
A pitchers duel was finally broken up in the fourth inning when the Bruins committed two costly errors. After the first error allowed first baseman Owen McConnell to reach safely, third baseman Kyle Coleman blasted a double to the fence in right center field.
McConnell came around to score on a single by right fielder Ethan Howard which deflected off pitcher Jarrett Olson’s glove to make the score 1-0.
The second error of the inning by the Bruins' infield allowed Coleman to score the eventual game-winner from third base, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead after four innings.
“Well we had some chances and didn’t come up with it. It really and truly came down to base running I felt. We gave them two runs in an inning where they had one ball out of the infield and we had two errors," St. Bede coach John Bellino said.
With the Bruins threatening in the sixth inning, the Panthers defense stepped up with two huge plays to save runs.
After second baseman Jack Brady and first baseman Ethan Duttlinger each drew walks, Olson stepped to the plate and blasted a double which one hopped the right field fence. Brady had to hold to see if the ball would drop and was gunned out by the perfect relay from right fielder Howard to shortstop Jordan Chandler, who rifled one to catcher Grady Todd who applied the tag to Brady.
Howard would be instrumental in the next play that saved a run with an amazing two out diving catch in the right center field off of the Bruins' designated hitter G.W. Leynaud.
“Ethan Howard is a senior and that’s one of those plays you need in a regional title game and he came up with it. You need at least one or two of those at some point in a post season run and he stepped up big," Orman said.
“We booted the ball around a little bit there in that inning, and we never did recover from that and they didn’t do that,” St. Bede Academy coach John Bellino said.
The Bruins added one run during the inning on a ground out by third baseman Michael Bellino.
The Bruins threatened again in the seventh inning loading the bases before pitcher Ken Cole shut the door striking out the last batter he faced for the 2-1 regional championship victory.
Cole went a complete game, seven innings, striking out seven and allowing one earned run while Olson went six and a half innings while striking out nine and allowing one earned.
Olson was 2-2 with single, double and a walk for the Bruins.
The Panthers were led by Howard who was 1-3 with a single and an RBI.
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