PBR Spotlight Game: DIII's No. 2 Ontario at Lexington



By Matthew Lee

It took 9 innings, but the No. 2 ranked team in DIII stays perfect at 21-0, beating DII Lexington 11-9 in a very exciting game.

Ontario got it started in the top of the 1st against Lexington junior James Watkins. Lead-off hitter, senior Drew Steinhour, was hit by a pitch  and moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt. Junior Tyler Beal followed with a base hit to put the runners on the corners with 1 out. Junior Wyatt Clemens hit a fly ball to left that plated Steinhour with the game's first run. After a walk, sophomore Brad Dretzka had a run scoring single followed by junior Vinnie Sansalone's run scoring single to make it 3-0. In the bottom half, Lexington wasted little time getting to Ontario Ace junior Mitch McCristal who came into the game with a perfect 8-0 record. Sophomore Brody Basilone doubled to left and moved to third on a long fly out to center. Junior Zach Sterry singled up the middle to make it 3-1.

In the bottom of the 3rd, junior Derek Weirick led off with a single to left. After two batters were retired, Sterry belted a bomb over the center field fence to tie the game 3-3.

Lexington took the lead in the top of the 4th as sophomore Zach Temple lead off with a single and moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt. Junior Alex Gerrell ripped a double to left to make it 4-3. Lee then singled to center but Gerrell was gunned down at the plate by Clemens.

In the top half of the 5th, Ontario's Steinhour led off with a single. Sophomore Kyle Pasheilich followed that with another single. Watkins walked Beal to load the bases with no outs. With the infield in, Lexington second baseman, Evan Lee made a diving stop and threw from his knees to get the force at home. Next batter McCristal hit a routine ball to right that was dropped to allow Ontario to tie the game at 4. Watkins was able to get out of the inning without any further damage by getting a double play to end the inning.

In the 6th inning Ontario drew a lead off walk that chased Lexington pitcher James Watkins. Junior Mason Willeke came into pitch and walked the next batter. After a sacrifice to move the runners to 2nd and 3rd Willeke dropped a pop up as there was confusion between him and Sterry. Willeke proceeded to walk the next batter to put Ontario up 5-4 but got out of the inning with a strike out and a diving catch by center fielder Brody Basilone.

The game stayed 5-4 until the bottom of the 7th inning when Willeke smoked a two out single to right. Sterry promptly followed with a single to move Willeke to 2nd. Junior Logan Bastin tied the game with a single to right that plated Willeke and knot the score at 5 after 7 innings of play.

Knotted up at 5-5 in the top of the 9th, McCristal led off with a single inning against Lexington senior pitcher Tyler Elder. Dretzka sacrificed moving McCristal to 2nd but as he realized Lexington's coverage left no one covering 3rd, he kept running and made it to third base standing up. Sansalone then put down a perfect squeeze bunt that scored McCristal and Sansalone was able to make it all the way to 2nd base. The flood gates opened with a walk, then an error on Willeke at shortstop to load the bases. Steinhour doubled to left plating two more to make it 8-5. Lexington brought in Lee and he struck out Pasheilich to get the 2nd out but then gave up back to back hits to Beal and Clemens that put Ontario on top 11-5. He then struck out McCristal to end the inning. The bottom of the 9th proved to be just as exciting. With Clemens on the mound for his 3rd inning of work,  Basilone led off with a double and scored on Willeke's RBI single to make it 11-6. After a walk to Sterry, Bastin doubled to score Willeke. Temple then grounded out to short scoring Sterry to make it a 11-8 game. After a ground out, Gerrell doubled to make it 11-9. Lee followed with an infield single to put runners on the corners but Weirick grounded out to short to end the game. Clemens picked up the win throwing the last three innings while Elder picked up the loss for Lexington.

Several players had great days at the plate for Ontario as Steinhour and Beal collected 3 hits, Dretzka and Sansalone had 2. Lexington was led at the plate by Gerrell with 4 hits, while Basilone and Sterry collected 3.

Ontario is a very well coached and disciplined team. They played error free baseball and catcher Vinnie Sansalone had a great game behind the plate with zero passed balls.

Good luck to both teams as tournament play begins Saturday for Lexington and next week for Ontario.