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Seventh heaven: Kenston baseball rallies late to beat Chaminade Julienne 4-2 in Division II state semifinals

Kenston scored all four runs in the seventh inning to overcome a 2-0 deficit
Kenston baseball celebration Jeff Harwell

AKRON, Ohio – Kenston remembers the feeling of losing in the state semifinals last season and didn’t want to replicate that feeling this year.

“I can tell you there was a little different energy this morning,” Kenston head coach Joe Hritz said. “They were ready to go.”

But through six innings, it looked like the Bombers were going to make the ride back to Geauga County after yet another state semifinal defeat as they trailed Chaminade Julienne 2-0 on Friday in the OHSAA Division II state semifinals.

And then the Kenston bats came to life in the seventh, as they put four runs on the board in the final inning to pull off a come-from-behind 4-2 win.

With the Bombers held to just one hit through six innings off Chaminade Julienne pitcher Jackson Frasure, Kenston pitcher Parker Munday led off the seventh with a line drive single to right field.

After Frasure retired the next hitter, Bridger Bischoff hit a single down the left field line to give the Bombers two runners on. After starting the next hitter with a 2-0 count, Frasure was pulled for Charlie Hoagland, who then threw two balls to finish the walk and load the bases.

Leadoff hitter Carter Flynn hit a two-run single to right center to tie the game and then he stole second uncontested to put runners on second and third.

That’s when L.A. Mighton stepped to the plate and took his redemption from last season. Mighton, the Kenston catcher, was behind the plate when Kenston lost last year's state semifinal game to Northview on a wild pitch.

But this time, it was Mighton who got to play the hero as he hit a chopper over the third baseman’s head to score Grant Beclay and give the Bombers a 3-2 lead.

“So that whole at bat I was I was thinking stay short, put the ball in play because I was 0-for-3 before that,” Mighton said. “When I saw it go over his head, I was really excited and then I got the dugout involved.”

His pitcher was one of those in the dugout celebrating his catcher.

“I love to see way that kid bounced back,” Munday said. “I knew he would rise to the occasion and get it done.”

Hritz watched it all unfold from his spot in the third base coaching box and was happy for Mighton.

“He's one of our outstanding players and outstanding talents on this team,” Hritz said. “Again, he stepped up in a big situation and that's when we needed him and he came through.”

The Bombers added another run when Flynn stole home on a pickoff attempt to first base.

Munday went the distance for the Bombers on the mound and allowed just one earned run on two hits and four walks while striking out 12.

The first run for the Eagles was unearned in the first inning after JP Peltier walked and stole second. He scored on two errors on his stolen base attempt. But despite the run, it was obvious early that Munday was locked in, as he struck out the side.

“I felt my stuff early,” Munday said. “I saw the three strikeouts in the first and I knew I had it all. They scored that one run off a couple errors. It happens, that's just what happens in big games. And I just knew I had to stop the damage.”

And then when he stepped to the mound in the seventh inning with his first lead of the day, Munday had one thing on his mind.

“Shut the door,” Munday said. “I knew that they gave me what I wanted. And I knew that's what I needed to win this game and I'm happy that we were able to finish the job.”

With the job finished on Friday, the Bombers will play in the state championship game for the first time in program history on Saturday against Ontario.