ATHENS — Just one year ago, Washington was celebrating its first district baseball title since 2007.
On Wednesday, the Blue Lions captured their second in as many years.
Thanks to two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, including the go-ahead score, Washington (25-1) ousted Circleville by a 4-2 final at Ohio University to claim — another — Division II district crown.
The Blue Lions opened the scoring in their first at-bat.
John Wall singled into right field before stealing second base. After AJ Dallmayer followed suit to move Wall 90 feet from home plate, Jonah Waters added the inning’s third single for a 1-0 score.
In the third, Washington added another run in a similar way.
Wall singled before advancing to second base on an errant throw. He then scored on Waters’ second RBI single of the night, making it 2-0.
Circleville (19-12) was down but not out. The Tigers fought back valiantly with two runs in the top half of the fifth.
Matt Bradley and Scottie Moats laced back-to-back singles before Austin Gray was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Tate DeBord then tallied a sacrifice fly, scoring Bradley, before Nolan West singled to make it 2-2.
However, Washington had an immediate answer.
Evan Lynch began the bottom of the fifth with a triple into deep right field. Wall then walked just before Titus Lotz made it a 3-2 ballgame with a sacrifice fly. Dallmayer followed with an RBI single to provide insurance.
Circleville never recovered.
Dallmayer toed the rubber in the sixth — in relief of starter Tanner Lemaster — and tossed two scoreless inning while allowing just one base runner.
Statistically, Lemaster picked up the win on the hill, going five innings, surrendering two earned runs on six hits and striking out five. Waters was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Dallmayer was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Wall was 2-for-3 with three runs, and Lynch finished 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored.
Circleville was led by Moats, who was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run while DeBord and West each had a base hit and an RBI. DeBord took the tough-luck loss, throwing four innings, striking out four and allowing three runs — two of which were earned — on six hits.
The Blue Lions advance to a Division II regional semifinal at 5 p.m., June 1 at Ohio Dominican. There, they’ll take on Bloom-Carroll — a 9-6 winner over Jonathan Alder on Wednesday.