Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — When it rains, it pours … literally.
After a hot start at the plate, a run-of-the-mill pitching performance from Ethan Lauder — and a 30-minute rain delay — Minford used a seven-run fourth inning to knock the doors off the hinges and, eventually, hand Wellston an 12-2 loss in a Division III district semifinal Thursday evening.
“It’s one thing to come and expect [to win]. We’ve expected that all season,” Minford coach Anthony Knittel said. “But I think we lost the hunger at one point. Today, that’s what you saw … a bunch of kids that are hungry to chase one dream and that’s to win a state championship.”
Wellston took full advantage of batting first and ripped three straight hits to open the game … the final hit being an RBI single from Chase Ingalls for a 1-0 lead.
Not to be outdone, Minford (27-1) responded in the form of an Elijah Vogelsong inside-the-park home run to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead after an inning.
But that was just the start of a long night for the Rockets.
After the Falcons tallied another run on a passed ball in the second, Darius Jordan launched a sacrifice fly to left field that pushed Minford’s lead to 4-1.
Matthew Risner then joined the fun in the fourth, lacing a two-run double to left field, and later scored on a passed ball for a 7-1 lead.
Two hitters later, Brayden Davis logged an RBI groundout, followed by an RBI single from Jordan, extending the score to 9-1.
The runs continued to come as Jordan scored on another passed ball before Ethan Lauder smacked an RBI single to left field, putting an end to a seven-run inning.
In the fourth, Luke Lindamood doubled before Risner knocked him in with an RBI single before the Rockets (14-12) rounded out the night’s final in the top half of the fifth.
Lindamood finished 2-for-2 with a double and a run, Risner was 1-for-2 with a double, a run and two RBIs, Jordan finished 1-for-2 with two RBIs, and Vogelsong ended the night 1-for-2 with the home run and two RBIs.
Lauder tossed four innings, allowed five hits and surrendered an earned run. He also helped himself, finishing 2-for-3 at the dish with an RBI.
For Wellston, Ingalls was 1-for-2 with an RBI while Frisby finished 2-for-3 with a triple and a run.
The Falcons advance to play the winner of Adena or Fairland in a Division III district final at 11 a.m., Saturday at VA Memorial Stadium.
“We just have to keep playing the game,” Knittel said. “It’s just a matter of relaxing and having fun, putting the pressure on, and I think we’ll be alright.”