BROOKSIDE - Shadyside will be seeking its third Ohio Valley Athletic Conference baseball title next weekend by virtue of its 12-7 upset of top-seeded Bridgeport in a Class 2A semifinal Saturday night on the Niekro Diamond at Perkins Field.
Tigers' coach Mike Meintel called Saturday's triumph a "total team effort. I can't single out one player. Everybody contributed."
With the win, the fourth-seeded Tigers (7-4) advance to next Saturday's championship tilt against second-seeded Caldwell, which outlasted Toronto, 7-6, in nine innings. The game is slated for 4 p.m. at Steubenville's Vaccaro Field.
Bridgeport’s Colt Charlton is tagged out by Shadyside catcher Josh McFarland during an OVAC semifinal in Brookside./Times Leader Photo
"This will be the third time I've coached in an OVAC championship game," Meintel said. "We haven't won one yet."
The Tigers didn't waste any time in getting on the board as they plated two runs in the first. The first run was unearned as it scored on an error. Jake Lennox singled through the left side of the infield to make it 2-0.
The Bulldogs came right back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. Andrew Hadzima and Colt Charlton had run-producing singles, while another run scored on a throwing error. The inning could've been bigger but Charlton was thrown out at the plate to end the frame.
Shadyside answered right back with two runs in the second and tacked on three more in the third. After a double steal deadlocked the game at three, Luke Nardo's double down the left field line knocked in the go-ahead run. Nardo added a run-scoring single in the third and Zack Frizzi singled in two others for a 7-3 reading.
The score remained that way until the top of the sixth when pinch-hitter Zach Meadows slugged a solo home run to deep left-center to make it 8-3.
"He made me look like a genius," Meintel said. "Zach has been our designated hitter all season, but he had been struggling lately. We let Jake (Gregon) DH today because he had been hitting the ball pretty well."
After Bridgeport plated four runs in the home half of the sixth to cut the deficit to 8-7, Shadyside tallied four of its own in the top of the seventh to seal the deal.
Parker Dyson and Bradley Pritchett had RBI singles, while Charlton blasted a two-run double.
Austin Dorris smacked a two-run double to the leftfield corner in the top of the seventh. Another run scored on an error and Billy Johnson's sacrifice fly plated the final run.
Frizzi came on in relief of Travis Fulton and slammed the door until the sixth. Dyson suffered the loss.
Nardo led Shadyside's 11-hit attack with two singles and a double.