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Lisbon has key to sectional success

LISBON — Lisbon completed the trifecta after rallying past Western Reserve 5-4 to win a Division IV sectional baseball title at sun-drenched Allen Dickey Field on Thursday.

The Lisbon seniors won three sectional titles in their prep careers (they missed a fourth year because the 2020 season was canceled by COVID-19).

“This is three years in a row (for a sectional title) and I’m proud of the kids,” said Lisbon coach Doug Andric. “All you can ask for is for them to keep playing hard and we’re still playing next week.”

The win sends ninth-seeded Lisbon (11-12) into a Division IV district semifinal against top-seeded Warren JFK at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Cene Park in Struthers. JFK won a sectional title Thursday by a 26-3 five-inning final over Badger to advance.

Lisbon had a couple heroes against Western Reserve. Senior pitcher Ryan Reckner entered the game in relief with just one Western Reserve batter retired in the first inning with the hosts trailing 2-0 and the bases loaded. Reckner pitched superbly, going the following 6 2/3 innings while throwing two-hit ball, striking out seven and walking two in gaining the mound win.

“It feels amazing (to win three sectional titles),” said Reckner. “Everybody played together and we all helped each other out.”

“Ryan (Reckner) came in during a tough spot,” said Andric. “I think the bases were loaded and he came in and threw a good game –he kept battling.”

A star for Lisbon on the offensive end was catcher Brayden Flory who was perfect at the plate with two walks, a two-RBI single that gave the hosts the lead for good in the third inning. He also had an additional single in the game.

“We were down 4-3 with two outs and the bases loaded and Brayden (Flory) got the big hit to score two runs,” praised Andric.

Lisbon also had singles by Daimen McCormick, Garrett Wallace and Ashton Pitts and an RBI from Reckner.

“We were up 3-0 and 4-2 and they made that pitching change and we couldn’t get on the same page with their second pitcher (Reckner),” said Western Reserve coach Jake Zatchok. “It was right to the wire, we had the top of our lineup coming up at the end and it just didn’t (happen), but they battled.”

Western Reserve managed just three hits in the game, as leading the visitors was Gabe Platt with two singles and Parker Reed with a single.

“After a couple innings I was getting warmed up and everything was loose and I was starting to get good,” said Reckner. “Confidence is a big thing, if you don’t have confidence you can’t really do anything,” he added.

Lisbon spotted Western Reserve three first-inning runs with much of the damage coming from four walks to the first six batters. Park Reed had an RBI single as the visitors went up 2-0 and Matthew Farelli hit into a force play in which another run scored, making it 3-0.

Lisbon came back to cut the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the first when McCormick singled to center and eventually came around to score after a walk and two hit batsmen on consecutive pitches, making it 3-1. Moments later, Grant Underwood was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing another run home as the hosts trailed 3-2.

Western Reserve’s Platt singled to center, stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch to give the visitors a 4-2 lead in the top of the second inning.

But in the bottom of the third, Lisbon rallied. Garrett Wallace opened with a single, Grant Underwood walked and Ashton Pitts singled to load the bases. Reckner cut the deficit to 4-3 with an RBI groundout. McCormick walked to load the bases again and Flory stepped to the dish and sent a ringing two-RBI single to center, plating two runs and giving the hosts a 5-4 advantage.

“The kids played really well, we were down early and I was proud of them (for the comeback) because we could have turned around and shut down but the kids kept their heads up and kept battling,” said Andric.

That was all Reckner, who seemingly got stronger on the mound as the game progressed, needed as he struck out five Western Reserve batters over the final four innings to get the impressive win.

“Obviously you just have to try to battle through it,” said Reckner of entering the game with the bases loaded. “That’s what we did — we battled and got through it.”

“We gave up three in the first inning and one in the second inning and held them scoreless after that,” said Andric.

Platt absorbed the pitching loss for Western Reserve. He struck out six and walked five in his three innings of work.

Western Reserve bows out with a record of 4-15.

“Six of our nine starters are freshmen and sophomores,” said the Western Reserve coach of his young team.

WR: 3-1-0-0-0-0-0–4-3-1

LI: 2-0-3-0-0-0-x–5-5-1

WR- Gabe Platt (LP, 3IP, 6K, 5 BB), Evan Slaven (4 IP, 4K, 1BB) and Jacob Buchmann.

LI–Daimen McCormick (1/3 IP, 0K, 4 BB, Ryan Reckner (6 2/3 IP, 7K, 2 BB) and Brayden Flory.

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