KENTON — Shawnee’s Kale Ebling didn’t try to do too much.
But the Indians senior was able to do more than enough to win it.
Ebling’s hump-back RBI single into right field gave Shawnee a 3-2, walk-off, 10-inning victory over Clear Fork in the Division II baseball district semifinals Thursday at Kenton.
“It was great knowing we put together a great game and I love to see us move on,” Ebling said.
It was a dramatic come-from-behind win for Shawnee.
Consider the Indians trailed 2-0 entering the home seventh.
Then, with two out, Logan Maxwell gave the fans more baseball when he tied the game at 2 with a two-run single off the mound and into center field.
In the home 10th, Shawnee’s Jacob Cowan started the rally by reaching on an infield error by the replacement Clear Fork shortstop.
Maxwell then bunted Cowan to second. Justin Behnke’s ground out to short moved Cowan to third.
Ebling, then took a 1-2 pitch from Clear Fork reliever A.J. Blubaugh and deposited the pitch into right field for the game-winning hit.
Blubaugh played stellar shortstop before he was moved to the mound in the ninth.
Ebling, who will play at Cedarville, went 2 for 5.
“I was looking for a ball out over the plate and drive it somewhere,” Ebling said. “It was a slider going outside and I went with it. I knew right away (it was a hit) when it went over the first baseman.’’
Added Maxwell, “We never give up and we’re fighters. We’re all team players.’’
Shawnee (23-6) advances to the district championship game against Western Buckeye League co-champion Van Wert (24-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Tiffin University.
Clear Fork ends its year 18-10.
“This is our sixth extra-inning game this year,” Shawnee coach Chad Spencer said of his being 3-3 in extra-inning games. “We’re used to playing deep and used to playing to the last out.’’
Shawnee sophomore right-hander Jarin Bertke was coming off a 5-0 four-hitter in the sectional title victory over Elida.
He turned in another strong performance Thursday.
Bertke went seven innings and gave up two runs, both earned, on six hits. He struck out six and walked three.
“We made that decision two weeks ago if we got that far,” Spencer said of pitching Bertke. “He was exceptional the other day. He was very good today. Jarin did everything to keep us in the game.’’
Bertke threw 111 pitches, 70 for strikes, with his breaking ball baffling the majority of Clear Fork hitters.
Clear Fork starter 6-foot-6 right-hander Mitch Dunn was even better.
Dunn threw five shutout innings and gave up only three hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Dunn threw 74 pitches, 50 for strikes. His day was done after five innings.
“He’s coming off Tommy John (elbow) surgery and he only had so many bullets in the tank. He gave us everything he had for as long as he could,” Clear Fork coach Joe Staab said. “He pitched great.’’
Bertke got in trouble in the fourth when he gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs.
But Bertke did plenty of damage control in limiting Clear Fork to one run on a sacrifice fly to center.
Clear Fork made it 2-0 in the fifth when left-handed hitter Brad Johnson went the other way and knocked a solo home run over the left-center field fence.
Then, in the home seventh, Shawnee’s A.J. Brown singled.
With two out Jacob Cowan walked. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third.
That’s when Maxwell lined a shot off the middle, which took a ricochet hop off the mound and trotted into center field for a two-run hit to tie the game at 2 in the home seventh.
“I tried to go with the pitch and it led me up the middle,” Maxwell said. “I didn’t know if it was going through or not, but when it got through I knew we were going to score the runner from second.’’
Shawnee’s Dalton Miller tossed two shutout, two-hit innings.
Johnny Caprella picked up the win with a 1-2-3 10th inning, with one strikeout.
It was a good day for the Indians in the field as well, as they played errorless ball.
“Earlier in the year we were losing games in extra innings, but now we’re winning those games and getting it done,” Ebling said.
Van Wert 6, Lexington 1
TIFFIN — Winning pitcher Lawson Blackmore allowed three hits and no walks while throwing a seven-inning complete game. Blackmore also had a hit and and RBI. Jalen McCracken had a double, a single and three RBI and Keaton Brown doubled also for Van Wert.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.