The Waynesville High School baseball team has a simple philosophy: Keep grinding.
Thursday at Eaton, the Spartans had to grind a little more to claim a Division II sectional title with a come-from-behind 11-5 win over Madison.
“Coach always tells us if we got an out, we got a chance,” Waynesville’s Hunt Doepel said after the Spartans knocked off Madison for the third time this year. “We wholeheartedly believe that, and it has been our calling card.”
Waynesville had defeated the Mohawks 11-0 and 17-2 during the regular season, but Madison showed a different side in the tournament.
Madison jumped on Waynesville ace Mason Callahan in the second inning for five runs on five hits.
Ethan Limon opened the second with a walk before Cam Svarda and Jesse Jones lined back-to-back triples. Wade Agnew doubled and Dustin Skinner drove home two with a double for a 5-0 lead.
It was almost 6-0, but Jones was called out at home after leaping over a tag attempt on a suicide squeeze.
The key twists continued to go against the Mohawks when starting pitcher Tristan Sipple was hit in the forearm of his pitching arm on a line drive by Doepel and had to leave the game.
“Those two things kind of took the wind out of our sails,” Madison coach Bob Evick said after his squad finished 19-9.
After scoring a pair in the second, Waynesville (22-5) tied it with three in the third with Doepel having the big hit, a two-run double to get the Spartans on the board.
“We just grind,” Waynesville coach Ryan Hill said. “It was so early, we just stuck to the grind. We knew we weren’t going to get five runs back in one swing. We had to string a couple of at-bats together to give us a shot.”
The Spartans broke the game open in the fifth, scoring six runs on six hits off the combination of Limon and Skinner. They plated four runs with two outs, getting two-run hits from Cameron Anderson and Callahan.
“This team doesn’t have to press,” Doepel said. “When we get down, our at-bats change and our attitudes change. It goes from a personal standpoint to a team standpoint and that is weird how we process things, but it is crazy. We just stick with things.”
Madison, meanwhile, had a hard time figuring out Brady Stone.
The Mohawks had one runner over the final five innings, a two-out single by Reid Davis in the fifth.
“I have to give Stone a lot of credit,” Evick said. “Down 5-0, he threw well and had a lot of offspeed stuff to give us trouble.
“We knew it was going to be tough. We respect Waynesville and knew it would be a dogfight. When we were up 5-0, I knew it was far from over. We knew they’d get up off the mat and they did.”
Waynesville will face Kenton Ridge (22-6) for a district title Saturday at 11 a.m. at Miamisburg. The Cougars advanced with a 5-2 win over top-seeded Tippecanoe.
WP — Brady Stone (7-2); LP — Ethan Limon (6-3). Records: M 19-9, W 22-5