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Thomas Worthington tops Grove City in rainy district final

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Thomas Worthington's Emerson Keppler dives onto a pile of teammates as the Cardinals celebrate their 8-2 Division I district final win over Grove City at Otterbein University's Fishbaugh Field on May 24. The game began May 23 but was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain.
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The Thomas Worthington High School baseball team took advantage of some loose defense by Grove City in a steady drizzle to take a 6-0 lead in the sixth inning of a Division I district final May 23.

After play was suspended because of rain, the Cardinals returned to Otterbein University on May 24 and finished an 8-2 win over the Greyhounds. In a matchup of two of the three Central District champions in 2012, Roscoe Blackburn limited Grove City to two hits through six innings.

“Roscoe’s effort was tremendous, especially in those conditions,” Thomas coach Stephen Gussler said.

The Cardinals improved to 24-6 and will play Hilliard Darby in a regional semifinal May 30 at Dublin Coffman. Grove City finished 20-10.

Last season, Thomas lost to Olentangy Orange 7-6 in a regional semifinal and Grove City lost to Cincinnati Moeller 3-2 in a state semifinal.

Blackburn struck out four and walked three. Ben Miller pitched the seventh.

The Cardinals scored four times in the bottom of the fourth on three hits, four errors and a wild pitch.

Keegan Lanter and Blackburn had one-out singles. After starter Ryan Bennett struck out Sean Lima, Sam Ankrom hit a bloop to left field that fell in front of Tyler Cowles for an RBI single. Cowles overthrew third baseman Brandon Marczika trying to get Blackburn out. Bennett, who was backing up third, retrieved the ball as Blackburn raced home, but he overthrew catcher Drew Nankivell and the ball rolled into the dugout, giving Ankrom two extra bases as he scored for a 3-0 lead.

“The footing was rough, the balls were wet, the field was wet,” Gussler said. “It’s high school baseball and good teams are going to make one or two mistakes a game in normal conditions, average teams will make three or four and bad teams will make five or six. But the way conditions were (May 23), it could’ve happened to either team.”

Emerson Keppler had a leadoff triple in the fifth and Miller followed with a home run to make it 6-0. Nick Highley added a two-run double in the sixth.

Grove City got RBI groundouts by Dominic Cooper and Dallas Allen in the seventh.

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The Thomas Worthington High School baseball team will have to wait a few hours to see if it can return to a Division I regional semifinal.

The Cardinals led Grove City 6-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning May 23 when play was suspended because of rain. Thomas will have runners on second and third base with one out when play resumes at 5 p.m. Friday, May 24.

Both teams won district titles last season. Grove City lost in a state semifinal.

Thomas’ Roscoe Blackburn has allowed just two hits. Thomas scored four times in the fourth on three hits, four errors and a wild pitch. The Cardinals added two runs in the sixth as Emerson Keppler hit a leadoff triple to right-center field and Ben Miller followed with a home run down the left-field line.

The winner will advance to play Marysville in a regional semifinal May 30 at Dublin Coffman. The Monarchs beat Watkins Memorial 7-2 in a district final May 23.

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