When Stryker and Ayersville faced each other earlier in the season it was a game dominated by pitching with Stryker coming out on top 1-0. The rematch in the District Semifinals at Bryan was much of the same except it was the Pilots getting just enough offense to go home with a 2-0 win over Stryker. The Panthers, who entered the game as the top seed, were still adjusting to the loss of senior pitcher Colton Benson to a leg injury.
The starting pitchers, Dauson Dales for Ayersville and Bronson Shock from Stryker, would dominate the opposing hitters for the first five innings. The two pitchers would combine to strikeout 26 batters on the night. Both offenses were silenced until the top of the 6th inning when Ayersville finally had some success off of Shock. With two outs and two runners on, Martinez laced a double to drive in two runs and break the scoreless tie. Stryker’s bats also came alive in the bottom of the 6th inning has they were able to put together a scoring threat. After picking up their first hit of the night by Frey, Dales then walked the next two Panther hitters to load the bases with two outs. But Dales would get out of the jam by recording one of his 16 strikeouts and it was still a 2-0 Ayersville lead heading to the final inning. In the top of the 7th, Shock was able to hold the Pilots scoreless so the Panthers faced a two run deficit going to their final at bat. Stryker (15-5) made things interesting, with a one out single by Holsopple, the Panthers now had the opportunity to tie the game. Dales stopped the rally though by striking out the final two batters and Ayersville had the win and a spot in the District Finals for the second straight year.
Pitching was story of this game with Shock and Dales going the distance on the mound for their respective teams. Shock finishes the game allowing two runs on two hits with three walks and ten strikeouts. Meanwhile for Ayersville, Dales threw a two hit shutout with four walks and sixteen strikeouts. The singles by Frey and Holsopple were the only Stryker hits of the night, while the two run double by Martinez of Ayersville was the only extra base hit of the game by either team.
Nate may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org