ATHENS — The Lima Locos enjoy these marathon games.
And now they will play for a championship.
Locos third baseman Cody Strong delivered an RBI single to right field to break up a 3-3 tie and lift the Locos to a 4-3 14-inning victory over Southern Ohio to clinch the best of three semifinal series Friday at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Locos won the series, 2-1.
In the top of the 14th inning, Matt Furuto singled and with one out Casey Schroeder singled to put runners at first and second.
With two out, Strong took an outside pitch and singled to right to bring home Furuto with the game-winning run. Strong had entered the game as a pinch-runner in the 13th inning.
The Locos advance to the Great Lakes Collegiate League championship series against Licking County. In the best of three championship series, Game 1 will be at 7 p.m. tonight in Lima.
Locos right-hander Aaron McRee came on and dominated from the ninth to the 13th inning. He pitched six scoreless innings for the win. McRee gave up only one hit, struck out two and walked two.
McRee threw 67 pitches, 44 for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of 20 hitters.
The Copperheads took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI by hitting machine leadoff hitter James Coates. That made Coates 9 for 13 in the series at that point.
The Locos scored two in the fourth to take a 2-1. A.J. Flores walked and came home on Schroeder’s RBI triple to right-center field. Zack Fields’ sacrifice fly to left made it 2-1 Locos.
Matt Furuto supplied an RBI single to center in the fifth to give the Locos a 3-1 lead.
The Copperheads scored two in the eight off Locos closer Art Warren. Warren hit Dalton Busby and walked Jesse Puscheck. A balk moved the runners over to second and third.
The Locos also played outstanding defense with four big plays, including a diving catch in right-center field by A.J. Flores. The left side of the infield with Jess Posey at third and Shawn Sanders at short continually made big plays for outs.
Colton Turner shot a two-run single down the right-field line to tie it at 3.
Anthony Misiewicz, the Copperheads’ closer, threw 106 pitches, as he threw 6.2 innings, giving up two hits. He struck out seven and walked four.
For the Locos, Furuto went 2 for 5 with an RBI. Schroeder went 2 for 6 with a triple and an RBI.
Coates ended up 2 for 7. Stone and Eddie Sutton had two hits each.
It was on July 13, that the same two teams played 15 innings, with the Locos pulling out a 12-11 win.