Northwood’s Jacob Davenport, slides in safely to score in the fourth inning before the tag by Tinora catcher EJ Kissel. The Rangers finished the season 18-11.
HAMLER, Ohio — Northwood couldn’t bounce back from an early deficit caused by errors Friday, falling 13-5 to Tinora in a Division IV baseball regional final at Patrick Henry High School.
A throw goes over Northwood’s John Segura as Tinora’s Reid Renollet reaches first base.
When the Rangers regrouped and came within striking distance, the Rams responded with a seven-run sixth inning.
“That’s a tough team across the way there,” Northwood coach Dave Russell said. “They made plays, they put the ball in play, they pitched strikes. It shows on the scoreboard up there.”
Tinora (19-7) will face either Cuyahoga Heights or New Middletown Springfield in a state semifinal game at 1 p.m. Friday at Huntington Park in Columbus.
Against Tinora — which lost in the state semifinal last year to defending state champion Minster — Northwood (18-11) couldn’t make up for its early defensive struggles. Northwood committed two errors in the first two innings and allowed five hits to Tinora, which took a 5-0 lead through three innings.
The Rangers knew they had to recover, but also not to panic.
“Just relax,” Northwood shortstop Nick Russell said of his team’s approach. “It’s not a one-inning game, it’s a seven-inning game. Can’t really worry about it. It was a tough first inning, but there were six innings left.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Myles Habel’s double drove in Russell for the Rangers’ first run, and an error by Tinora third baseman Brevin Renollet with runners on first and third allowed Habel to score before Jacob Davenport stole home to cut Tinora’s lead to 5-3.
The Rams answered two innings later, with the help of Clay Pittman’s sixth-inning grand slam.
“When it was 5-3, I was hoping for rain,” Tinora coach Brent Renollet said with a laugh. “We needed to get a big inning, but Clay has come through for us so many times. You expect it.
“Pitching, he battled. He’ll tell you he’s not a pitcher, that he’s a catcher, but he battled. He competed.”
At that point, the rain delay couldn’t come any faster — for Northwood.
Derek Drewes scored on a throwing error to give Tinora a 10-3 lead, the fifth run of the inning, which came just before the game was delayed more than a half-hour because of heavy rain.
The Rams added two more runs in the sixth after the delay but the turning point of the game, Nick Russell said, was Pittman’s grand slam.
“That gave them the edge,” said Russell, a senior who was 2 for 4 with a double.
Pittman, Tinora’s starting pitcher, went 2 for 4 with five RBIs and allowed four hits through six innings before Dylan Rumbaugh took over in relief. Rumbaugh gave up two runs on a hit in the seventh before John Segura grounded out to end the game.
“We started the season 2-7,” Nick Russell said, “and to get to this point, it was really about us jelling as a team. And it showed in the late part of the season.”
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: email@example.com, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.