PBR Spotlight Game: Ryan's 174 pitch outing not enough as Northmont wins in extras

By Trace Fowler 

XENIA- Miamisburg and Northmont played under the lights at Athletes In Action’s Grady’s Field. As if 174 reasons were not enough to forever remember the Vikings and Thunderbolts district semi-final bout, the game was capped off by a devastating ending.

Northmont’s Bryan Murphy, a senior right-handed pitcher with an 81 to 83 mph fastball, would have early jitters against the Vikings offense. Ryan Griffis and Alex Farlow both singled and came around to score giving Miamisburg an early 2-0 lead.

Zach Ryan (Sinclair Community College recruit), regarded as one of the areas best arms, countered Murphy. Ryan breezed through the first inning with his 86-89 mph fastball.

However, the following innings did not come easy.

Miamisburg added a run in the second when Josh Baker singled in Adam Giles giving Ryan and company a 3-0 advantage.

The Viking ace only allowed two hits through four innings. However, his control seemed to be fading. Ryan loaded the bases in three consecutive innings, yet only allowed one run in the process.

Miamisburg extended their lead to 5-1.

With a seemingly comfortable lead and Ryan's high pitch count, Miamisburg seemed destined to make a call to the bullpen.

But, Ryan kept hanging on.

Northmont’s first baseman Troy Mangen led off and reached base after being hit by an errant pitch. Tyler Barker singled putting runners on the corners. Zach Weatherford hit an RBI single and seemed to finally end Ryan’s night.

But once again, he kept on pitching.

A strike out and ground out later and the Vikings lead dwindled to 5-3. With two outs and the Thunderbolts tying run in scoring position, Ryan ended the threat by blowing what seemed to be his last pitch by a Northmont hitter.

Still, he returned to the mound.

Ryan, who now had many fans and spectators beginning to search for a pitch count, found himself in another jam. He limited the Northmont damage to only one run as the score narrowed to a 5-4 Miamisburg advantage. Now, only three outs away from victory and up by a run, would the Vikings turn to a closer to finish Ryan’s work?

Think again.

After two quick outs in the seventh, Ryan seemed destined to lead his team to a laborious victory. With Ryan continuing to wear down, Patrick Snyder drew a two out walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. Miamisburg elected to intentionally walk Ohio’s No. 13 ranked 2013 prospect Tom Stoffel, putting the winning run on first base.

The move seemed to pay off as Ryan induced a routine ground ball, but an infield error left Ryan in yet another bases loaded jam.

Pitch counts were being double checked, even triple checked, and on Ryan’s 168th pitch, the game was tied 5-5 after the senior right-hander hit another Northmont batter.

After a fly ball out by the next batter, the game move to extra innings knotted up at five a piece.

Northmont junior left-hander Tom Stoffel relieved Murphy, and dominated the Viking hitters with his 86 to 88 mph fastball. Stoffel struck out two of the three batters he faced.

To the amazement of the crowd, Ryan returned to the mound in the eighth.

He allowed a leadoff infield single before finally being relieved by Jeremy Randolph.

Ryan’s final pitch count reached a stunning 174 pitches.

Randolph retired two consecutive hitters in relief before walking a pair to load the bases.

Victory was within reach as Northmont standout Tom Stoffel approached the plate.

With the crowd on their feet, Stoffel lifted a routine fly ball to left field. As the outfielder settled under it, the ball bounced off the heel of his glove and just like that, Northmont scored and advanced to the district championship.

Northmont will play Cincinnati Elder in the district championship at Centerville High School on Saturday. The first pitch is slated at 11:00 AM.

Underclass games OH