HAMLER, Ohio -- Ottawa Hills coach Chris Hardman knew after the Division IV regional semifinal game that Leipsic deserved to win the game.
"It was very simple," Hardman said. "The better team today won the game. They hit in the clutch, and we didn't. They executed some things, and we didn't. We had our opportunities, but today was Leipsic's day."
Leipsic jumped out to a 6-1 lead after five innings and held on to win 6-3 at Patrick Henry High School.
Ottawa Hills opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with one run after Leipsic committed two errors. Jack Saddemi scored the run for the Green Bears.
Leipsic answered with two runs in the bottom of the third off of Ottawa Hills starting pitcher Joe Mackey. Trevor Schroeder knocked in both runs for the Vikings with a two-out double.
After scoring one more run in the fourth, Leipsic added three big insurance runs on a three-run homer by Logan Dickerson.
Those three runs would end up being the difference in the game after Ottawa Hills pushed two runs across in the top of the seventh. Will Longthorne hit an RBI triple and came in to score the second run of the inning. But Leipsic pitcher Travis Schroeder struck out Mackey to end the Green Bears comeback.
Schroeder pitched all seven innings for Leipsic, allowing three runs on six hits, while striking out seven Green Bears. Mackey pitched five innings for Ottawa Hills, giving up six runs on seven hits, while striking out four Vikings. Senior Adam Moreau came on to pitch a scoreless sixth inning.
Moreau and Longthorne led the Ottawa Hills offense with two hits apiece.
The loss moved Ottawa Hills' record to 24-6 and put an end to a very successful season. Hardman, in his 32nd year as head coach, said this team had strong senior leadership all year long from its six seniors.
The Green Bears were TAAC champions and made it to regionals for the third straight year and for the 14th time under Hardman's lead.
Ottawa Hills battled throughout the game, just as they have all season, but just couldn't come up with enough runs in the end.
"It was a great year and a valiant effort today," Hardman said. "I don't feel badly about today because the team that played better won, and that's how it should be. We tip our hat to today's opponent, and we'll try to get back down here next year."