Perryburg pitcher Mark Delas (19), right, hugs catcher Kyle Durham (21) after defeating Norwalk in the Division I district baseball final at Carter Park in Bowling Green, Ohio.
BOWLING GREEN — Two defining snapshots in Perrysburg’s latest postseason triumph involved a catcher and a pitcher struggling to connect.
Kyle Durham could not catch an erratic pitch thrown by Mark Delas in the seventh inning before the sequence took a satisfying turn in the Division I district baseball final Saturday.
Moments later Durham could not catch an erratic Mark Delas.
After recording the final out in a 3-2 win over Norwalk, the friends who braved a dicey seventh inning rushed each other in a clumsy celebration at Carter Park. Durham folded to the ground trying to lift Delas, the 220-pound Northern Lakes League wrestling champion.
“He’s a big dude,” Durham said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Perrysburg defeats Norwalk 3-2
In a game without either an extra base hit or much suspense until the end, it was the determination of Perrysburg’s battery that lifted the Yellow Jackets to their third regional appearance in four years. Delas went the distance, laboring through difficult stretches late. Durham left his mark, gunning down a base runner to punctuate a momentum shift in the seventh inning.
Perrysburg, a team its coach admits is overachieving, advances to play St. Francis de Sales in a regional semifinal. First pitch between the teams, which scrimmaged each other in the preseason, is set for 5 p.m. on Thursday at Bowling Green State University’s Steller Field.
“We know they’re a good team,” said Durham, who was 1 for 3 and was hit by a pitch in the first with the bases loaded. We just have to go out and play Jacket baseball like we’ve been.”
The Yellow Jackets (26-3) committed just one error on the weekend, and it came in the seventh inning Saturday on a screamer that shortstop Gus Dimmerling bobbled while closing to the hole. Durham, on the next at-bat, ensured the mistake would be of no consequence. Delas threw a fastball left of the plate and in the dirt, but Durham recovered to throw out Tyson Putnam going to second for the second out of the inning.
Perryburg baseball players celebrate after defeating Norwalk.
“I just tried to throw my body in front of it and block it,” Durham said. “I knew I couldn’t let the runner get into scoring position.”
Delas came up big for the other two outs. He rallied from a 3-0 hole to induce a Colin Souter groundout to start the inning before fanning pinch-hitter Marcus McClain to end the game. Souter, who worked the first five innings, tossed his bat toward Norwalk’s dugout after taking what he believed to be ball four.
“I just gave him my best, the fastball, and I let my defense work,” said Delas, who allowed three hits and struck out three.
Delas also had a tricky sixth, allowing the first two batters to reach base before getting the next three hitters. Norwalk (25-5) managed only one run.
Perrysburg, which can secure the NLL title outright Tuesday at Springfield, led 2-0 after Steve Slocum’s sacrifice fly in the second. A.J. Stockwell drove in another run in the fourth for a 3-1 lead as the Yellow Jackets often overcame pitcher’s counts to inflict damage on Souter.
Include plate discipline to the definition of Jacket baseball.
“Our kids have bought into that system, and I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve overachieved,” coach Dave Hall said.
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