Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — When you give Minford extra chances to score, the Falcons are always happy to oblige.
In the first inning of Saturday’s Division III district championship at VA Memorial Stadium, Adena committed two errors and Minford took full advantage of the opportunity presented.
The Falcons (28-1) scored five first-inning runs, building an early lead before breezing to a 10-0, five-inning win to claim a second consecutive district crown.
“[Grabbing an early lead], anytime you can do that, I like our chances,” Minford coach Anthony Knittel said. “We’re hungry right now. When somebody’s hungry, they work harder. That’s what we’re doing.”
Minford’s Elijah Vogelsong gave the Warriors’ offense a night off, throwing five innings of two-hit baseball and striking out five.
The sophomore threw a total of 47 pitches in the win.
“This feels amazing,” Vogelsong said. “It feels amazing to bring another one home for Minford. “We play as a team and we always play hard.”
In the bottom of the first, Vogelsong quickly aided his own cause with a two-run double down the left field line that scored Brayden Davis and Darius Jordan — who were walked and hit by a pitch, respectively.
After Ethan Lauder was hit by a pitch, Vogelsong and Lauder both scored on back-to-back throwing errors to hand Minford a 4-0 lead. Luke Lindamood rounded out the frame’s scoring, coming home on an RBI groundout off the bat of Nathan McCormick.
In the second, Vogelsong logged an RBI single, scoring Jordan and making it 6-0. Then, in the third, Lindamood made it 7-0 with a towering solo home run that snuck over the left field wall.
After Bailey Rowe singled in the fourth, he stole second, moved to third and scored on an RBI groundout via Jordan to make it 8-0.
Reid Schultz singled in the fifth, stole second and scored on an RBI single from Matthew Risner before Risner rounded out the final, scoring on an RBI single via McCormick.
Logging base hits for Adena (19-11) were Garrett Wilburn and Zach Fout.
The Warriors are forced to say goodbye to five seniors: Ethan Kunkel, Garrett Wilburn, Zach Fout, Roman Long and Caleb Foglesong.
“Selfishly, that was my first group of kids,” Adena coach Tom Barr said. “You love seniors every year but this group is really special to me. We’ve been through battles together. The hardest part of coaching is when you know you don’t get to do this again with a group of kids. They’ve built our foundation here. We’re ready to go. We’re ready to get back to this point next season and, hopefully, get over this hump.”
For Minford, Lindamood finished 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs, Vogelsong was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, and Jordan went 1-for-2 with a stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI.
After winning their district tournament contests by a combined 22-2 run margin, Minford advances to a Division III regional semifinal against Westfall, at 2 p.m., Thursday at VA Memorial Stadium.
“All we have to do is play our game,” Knittel said. “We just have to play no other way than we’ve played all year. Play in the moment and play what’s in front of us. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”