Matt Hayes belted a three-run home run in a seven-run fifth inning and drove in the game-ending run on a single to left field in the sixth to help lead the Pickerington High School North baseball team to its first state tournament berth with a 13-3 win over Hilliard Davidson on Saturday in a Division I regional final at Dublin Coffman.
Matt Hayes belted a three-run home run in a seven-run fifth inning and drove in the game-ending run on a single to left field in the sixth to help lead the Pickerington High School North baseball team to its first state tournament berth with a 13-3 win over Hilliard Davidson on Saturdayin a Division I regional final at Dublin Coffman.
The Panthers moved to 29-3 and will play Green at 7 p.m. Friday in a state semifinal at Huntington Park. Green was 25-3 after beating Lakewood St. Edward 7-4 on Friday in a regional final at Canton.
"(Davidson starter Phillip Huff) threw me a lot of curves the first couple times up, so I was sitting back on the curve," said Hayes, who had three of North's 18 hits, driving in five runs and scoring twice. "When I hit (the homer), I thought it was a line drive in the gap, but it just kept going."
North starter Kyle Price gave up eight hits and three runs in five innings, walking four and striking out two.
"I just had to be mentally tough because (the Wildcats) are a good fastball-hitting team," Price said. "But with this team backing me with the way they hit the ball and made plays behind me, that's why we won the game."
North jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Alex Bayer doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Jacob Isabel. Isabel moved to second on the throw to the plate and scored on a single by Alex Borgan.
Davidson scored in the third when Zac Daniels led off with a double, moved to third on a flyout to right by Andrew Gronski and raced home on a wild pitch. Bayer gave the Panthers a two-run lead again with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the third.
"We knew they hit the ball extremely well and Price battled every inning," North coach Tim Thomas said. "We wanted to keep pressure on them every inning and when you do that, good things happen."
North went up 5-1 in the fourth when Hayes singled home Eric Brindle and later scored on a double by Isabel.
Davidson tacked on three in the fifth to trail 5-3. Daniels and Gronski led off with consecutive singles and both scored singles by Hunter Broadstone and Huff.
In the seven-run fifth for North, Austin Butler had an RBI-single and Borgan had a sacrifice fly to go with the home run by Hayes.
"I thought they came out hitting the ball, but so did we," said Davidson coach Jim Dougherty, whose team finished 25-6. "I thought we had a couple of chances early on that we didn't cash in."
Brindle singled three times and scored three runs and Bayer doubled with a single and scored three times. Isabel doubled with three singles and Kenny Yusasek had three singles, including two in the fifth.
Daniels doubled with a single and scored twice and both Gronski and Huff had two singles.