Bearcats capture sectional crown
by Mike Nutter
(May 21) GRAFTON --This time, Grafton didn't need a last inning rally.
Thanks to some explosive hitting and a solid pitching performance from Jeremy Mayle, the Bearcats cruised to a 15-3, six-inning win over South Harrison Wednesday night to claim the Class AA Region II, Section 3 title.
After rallying from a 10-0 fourth-inning deficit to grab an incredible 15-12 win Tuesday night to force a deciding game, Grafton broke the game open with seven runs in the first two innings.
Grafton outscored South Harrison 30-5 over the last nine innings of sectional play.
Wednesday's loss was a direct result of the missed opportunity the night before, according to Hawks coach Brad Nutter.
"Last night's loss played on us 100 percent tonight," said Nutter. "We came out lethargic and Grafton came out ready to play and really hit the ball.
"We just didn't have it tonight, and Grafton did."
Down by seven, South Harrison made no headway against Grafton starter Jeremy Mayle.
Mayle pitched all six innings, allowing just three hits while fanning four.
"It came down to the wire tonight as to who we were going to start," said Grafton coach Terry Cole. "After the way (Mayle) pitched Tuesday night, it was a no-brainer for us.
Ò(Jeremy) gave us a tremendous effort tonight. It was a gutsy performance. I know that his arm was hurting him, but he didn't show it tonight," Cole said.
Mikey Davisson hit a two-run home run and Drew Toth's homer in the fifth were the first hits off Mayle and cut Grafton's lead to 11-3.
However, any chance of South Harrison duplicating the Bearcats' miracle comeback was quickly lost as Grafton responded when Brad Westfall's triple highlighted a four-run sixth to put the game away.
"I was actually glad we got to be the visiting team tonight," said Cole. "We got to hit first and set the tempo for the game.
The big thing was that we got a lot of hits with two outs and that really stuck a dagger in them.
"I really think that they thought about (Tuesday's) loss," Cole said. "You could tell emotionally that it worked on them."
T.J. Mayle led the 13-hit attack for the Bearcats by going 3-for-4 with a double. Designated hitter Nathan Rosier was 2-for-3 with four RBI's.
"You have to realize that there will only be three teams that will end the season with a win," Nutter said. "We thought we could go a little further than what we did, but we had a group of kids that worked very hard to be 18-9 this year.
"And with only four seniors out there, we had a phenomenal season."
Sam Jerkin, Brian Glimpse and Westfall had two hits apiece for Grafton.
The only other hit for South Harrison was collected by Jeff Kile, who had a single up the middle in the fifth inning.
Grafton, now 11-9, will next play on Tuesday, at South Harrison High School in the regional tournament.
"The way that we're hitting the ball," Cole said, "I definitely feel we have a chance to go further. We've faced some of the best pitchers all year, and I don't think there's a pitcher out there who can dominate us that much.