COLUMBUS — Tinora didn’t mothball the steal of home after it worked once.
Amazingly, it pulled it off again the very next inning.
And with the second steal of home, Tinora stole the game away from Crestview.
Tinora’s Logan Dickerson stole home with two outs in the home seventh to post a walk-off 4-3 victory over Crestview in the Division IV baseball state semifinals Thursday morning at Huntington Park.
“Coach (Brent Renollet) asked if I could steal home, and I said, ‘Yea, I’ll go home,” Dickerson said. “We had to win this game.”
With two outs and Dickerson at third, the Knights walked Clay Pittman and Derek Drewes to load the bases and set up a force play.
Then, with a 1-2 count to Brevin Renollet at the plate, Dickerson took off for home.
Crestview catcher Nate Owens saw him coming and jumped out in front of the plate to catch the pitched ball from lefty Damian Helm.
Owens had the ball for a second, then dropped it in front of him, as Dickerson slid in and collided with Owens’ leg. Dickerson came across the plate with the game-winning, walk-off steal of home.
“I was running down to home, then I saw the catcher with the ball, and I thought he was going to get me,” Dickerson said. “He had it in his hands, then he bobbled it. Then, I said, ‘Thanks’ (when he dropped it).”
Coach Brent Renollet added, “I asked him if he could make it and he said, ‘Yea, I can.’ He left a little early, but it worked out. … Luckily, he dropped the ball, and it was good for us.”
Owens stayed down on the ground for about five minutes but was able to walk off the field on his own power. After the game, he said his knee and leg were both hurting.
“I saw him coming and Damo (Helm) made a really nice pitch, but I couldn’t hold onto it,” Owens said. “That’s my fault. He hit me pretty good.”
A veteran umpire observer at press row said that if Owens had not dropped the ball, it should have been ruled a balk since the catcher jumped out and caught the pitch in front of the plate with Helm on the rubber. If that was called, the runner would have been awarded home on the balk.
“No, I haven’t seen anything like this, but that speaks volumes on what they thought of Damian Helm and what they thought of this team,” Crestview coach Jim Wharton said. “They knew they were going to have to take a gamble.”
Dickerson started the seventh off with a double into right-center field and was bunted to third by E.J. Kissel. That set up the dramatic ending.
Tinora (24-4), which was making its fourth straight trip to the state tournament, advances to the state title game against the Newark Catholic/Western Reserve winner at 10 a.m. Saturday at Huntington Park. Crestview, which made its second straight trip to state, ends its year 20-7.
Dickerson’s steal was Tinora’s second steal of home on the day.
Tinora scored two runs in the home sixth to tie the game at 3. Dakota Stark’s sacrifice fly made it 3-2.
Then, on a 3-0 count to Logan Bailey, Drewes stole home, as Helm fired the ball on the ground to the backstop for ball four. Helm was working out of the windup.
“That’s how we want them to play,” coach Renollet said. “We’ve done it before (but not this year). We practice this.
“On the first steal, he was going from the windup and I thought we could make it pretty easy. The second one, he was in the stretch, and was a little more gutsy.”
Crestview scored one in the first on an RBI single by Owens to give the Knights a 1-0 lead. Tinora tied the game at 1 with a Drewes sacrifice fly in the third.
Crestview took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Isaiah Simmerman doubled, stole third and came home on an RBI single to left by Bryce Richardson.
Crestview pushed its lead to 3-1 in the sixth when Simerman tripled, then scored on a wild pitch.
On the day, Simerman went 3 for 3, with a double, a triple and two runs. Helm went 2 for 3 with a triple.
On the mound, Helm walked the first two batters of the game, but settled down from there. He got a double-play in the first to get out of trouble.
Helm went the distance and gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits. He struck out six and walked six, two intentional. He threw 101 pitches, 58 for strikes.
“Damo is Damo, and at both his sports, he’s played at a very high level,” Wharton said. “He pitched a phenomenal game, certainly well enough to win.”
Tinora right-hander Clay Pittman (8-1) picked up the complete-game win. He gave up three runs, all earned, on eight hits. He struck out seven and walked one. He threw 109 pitches, 78 for strikes.
Dickerson said he could never remember his team stealing home twice in the same game.
“It was pretty crazy, but that’s how coach wanted us to play,” Dickerson said.
WP—Clay Pittman (8-2). LP—Damian Helm (7-2)
2B—Isaiah Simerman ( C), Logan Dickerson (T).
3B—Damian Helm (C ), Isaiah Simerman (C ).
Records: Crestview 20-7; Tinora 24-4.