By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — The wind was howling.
And Lehman Catholic coach Dave King and his third seeded Cavaliers were taking nothing for granted against sixth seed Jackson Center Wednesday in second round D-IV sectional action.
Lehman led 2-1 going to the bottom of the third before breaking it open and winning 14-2 in five innings.
The Cavaliers, 14-7, will now play the top seed Russia— an 11-1 winner over Riverside Wednesday — for the sectional title at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Newton High School.
“Unless you have played in winds like this — I would say 20 to 25 miles per hour — you don’t know how difficult it is,” Lehman coach Dave King said. “I thought Jared (Magoteaux) really handled that well. And we know Jackson Center is a good team. We have a lot of respect for them and Troy (second year coach Troy Liles). They are headed in the right direction.”
Magoteaux probably only has one pitch, he would like to have back — a first inning home run by Jacob Francis that gave Jackson Center a brief 1-0 lead.
“The first inning doesn’t decide a game,” King said. “But, the Francis kid sure lit into that one. We have been struggling a little bit in the first inning.”
Magoteaux allowed just two hits the rest of the way — a single by Trent Platfoot and a double by Aiden Reichert.
“I know what my mistake was (on the home run),” Magorateaux said. “It is tough (pitching in that strong of wind). It takes a lot of velocity off your pitches, but you adjust. We knew Jackson Center was a good team. We have a lot of respect for them.”
Magoteaux had seven strikeouts and three walks in the game.
“He pitched out of a first and third with one out in the third without giving up a run,” King said. “Then, he almost did it again in the fourth.”
After striking out the side in the second, Magoteaux got a pop-out to him and a strikeout to end the third.
In the fourth, Reichert doubled and was one third with two outs when he scored on a wild pitch.
But, by then, Lehman had the game well in hand.
Lehman scored two runs in the home first to take the lead for good.
Tyler Lachey had a leadoff single, but was caught stealing.
Brandon Barhorst was hit by a pitch, Bryce Kennedy singled and everyone was safe on Alex Keller’s fielder’s choice to load the bases.
RJ Bertini then hit a shot to the leftfield fence that ended up being a long single to score two runs.
“I think he had two strikes on him,” King said. “That was big hit in that situation.”
That was the way the game stayed until the home third, when Lehman sent 12 batters to the plate and took advantage of four Jackson Center errors to score eight runs and make it 10-1.
Drew Barhorst had a two-run double in the inning, Ryan Schmidt had a RBI fielder’s choice and Lachey and Keller had RBI singles. Brandon Barhorst and Kennedy also had hits in the inning.
“What I saw was a lot of hits with two strikes and a lot of two-out hits,” King said. “That is what you want to see.”
After Reichert’s run closed the deficit to 10-2, Lehman finished off the scoring with four runs in the fourth.
Owen Smith was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch, while Lachey, Kennedy and Keller all had RBI singles.
“The third inning was a big inning, but we also came right back with the four-spot in the fourth,” King said.
Francis and Christopher Elchert combined on the pitching effort for the Tigers, with five walks, two hit batters and three strikeouts.
Lachey and Kennedy were 3-for-4 for Lehman, while Keller was 2-for-4.
King hopes to find a game before Wednesday’s sectional title matchup — with a little less wind.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.