Linsly nips Magnolia

TORONTO – The OVAC Class 3A baseball championship pitting Linsly and Magnolia had all the makings of a classic.

It delivered.

Colton Coss scored from third on an error in the top of the eighth inning as the Cadets edged the Blue Eagles, 2-1, in a pitcher’s duel at the Knight Baseball Complex.

The title was the second straight for Linsly, which won the Class 2A crown last spring.

This year, the Cadets did it with an almost entirely new starting lineup.

“It’s great for these young kids,” Linsly coach Jay Cartwright said after receiving a congratulatory hug from former Cadets coach Gary Sprague.

“Our seniors led. We have a couple of young kids in the middle, a freshman and a sophomore, and we had some veterans on the corners.”

Put it all together, and Linsly has its 17th OVAC crown, second to Steubenville, which goes for number 20 today against Harrison Central in the Class 4A title tilt.

Coss started the eighth by singling to center. Jameson Murray grounded out, but moved Coss to second.

Momo Felt was then intentionally walked giving Linsly runners at second and first with one out.

After Logan Goodnight struck out, Dom Ellis stepped to the plate.

The senior slapped a Kyle Elliott pitch in the air in shallow left field. Magnolia shortstop Tanner Hanna went back to make, what looked like, a tough play on the ball. The ball fell into his glove, but then fell to the ground. Coss crossed home plate to the delight of his teammates.

“Dom just gutted out an at-bat,” Cartwright said. “He got blown away early (he struck out his three previous at-bats) and struggled. I told him to just put the ball in play. That was huge for us.”

The Blue Eagles (26-4) got the tying run, Elliott, on second with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

Felt struck out Wilhoite for the second out. Next, Hanna belted a shot to deep center. Linsly’s Arien Seymour got a bad break on the ball, but recovered and made a diving grab to end the game.

“I’m so proud of my kids,” Magnolia coach Dave Cisar said. “Elliott was super on the mound, Cain was great behind the plate and we had some kids who were hurt and did a great job.

“Lookout, cause this will make us a better team. You have to look at the positives. This was just a bump in the road.

“Congrats to Linsly. It was a heck of a high school baseball game.”

That it was, especially with both team’s aces on the hill.

Elliott and Felt both fanned nine and walked four.

“He was just very tough,” Cartwright said of Elliott, who allowed four hits. “He pitched a great game.

“And, as far as our guy goes, he struggled in the first few innings and he hit his stride later on. He’s as tough as anyone out there when he’s hitting his spots.”

Magnolia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Chandler Sapp scored on a passed ball.

The score stayed that way until Linsly knotted things up in the sixth when Felt hit a shot that dropped fair down the left field line. Coss scored from second on the play.

Sapp finished with two of Magnolia’s three hits.