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High school sports: 7-run rally powers Open Door Patriots

ELYRIA The series has been nicknamed the Revolutionary War.
The moniker made perfect sense on May 16, because the Division IV Barberton District sectional semifinal game between host Open Door (9-7) and Lake Ridge (4-13) was a battle, with the Patriots emerging victorious, 8-7, in come-from-behind fashion.
Trailing, 7-1, heading into the bottom of the sixth, Open Door sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven of them to take the lead.
I honestly cant believe we did it, Open Door coach Matt Loescher said. They took it to us earlier this year and beat us 12-1 and when they came out and got a 7-1 lead, I thought Oh no. Here we go again.
The explosive inning featured seven hits by the Patriots and five stolen bases.
However, it started with the Patriots catching a break on a hard-hit line drive by sophomore Dustin Hackney to first base. Lake Ridge senior Danny Fulop made a leaping stab at the ball, getting a piece of it and knocking the ball up and behind himself. Fulop got his bearing and made a bare-handed lunge at the ball, but was unable to complete the play.
Thats baseball, isnt it? Loescher said. I mean, Ill take it any way that it goes. It looked like it was going to be a line-drive single, but it got knocked down. I think it put some pressure on Lake Ridge. It kind of took some wind out of them.
Hackney stole second and moved to third on a single by senior Cory Kushinski. Both were brought home by a strong shot to the shortstop by junior Will Lovett, who reached on a throwing error, to cut the Royals lead to 7-3.
Sophomore Drew Zaborowski followed with a single to left that moved Kushinski to third. It was the closest Kushinski would get to home, as a soft hit by freshman Charlie Lovett caught Kushinski in a run-down for the first out of the inning.
With one out, junior Jacob Lowe smashed a triple to right that scored Zaborowski and Lovett while chipping the Lake Ridge lead down to 7-5.
They had some timely hitting and we didnt make some plays in the field, Lake Ridge coach Jason Dimacchia said. When you put that together, it doesnt spell out good things. But thats baseball.
Lowe was brought home on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Tyler Novak to cut the score to 7-6.
We knew we could do it, said Lowe. The comeback was just unreal. We just kept chipping away and getting hits when we needed them.
Junior Caleb Crowder hit a single to center, stole second and scored on a single by sophomore Tyler Haas to knot the game at 7-7.
We went crazy when Caleb got that hit, said Zaborowski. It was just a great feeling to be making the comeback.
Haas did not have to wait long to score the game-winning run.
Hackney stepped into the box for his second at-bat of the inning and hit a shot to the wall in left field for an RBI triple, giving the Patriots an 8-7 lead.
Its bittersweet right now, said Dimacchia. You never want to lose, but to lose in that way, its tough.
I mean, our guys did some great things, and I dont want to take away from those. Its a bittersweet loss.
Some of those great things include scoring four runs in the third and three in the fifth to take a 7-1 lead.
The Royals strung together five hits in the third inning to plate four runs and take an initial 4-0 lead. Open Door got one back in the bottom of the third with an unearned run, but three more runs in the fifth appeared to open up the game for the Royals.
After their big innings, I was just kind of getting inside of my own head, said Will Lovett. I just said a quick prayer. I was like, Lord, please just help me finish this one out strong. I didnt think I was going to finish this one out, but He gave me the strength to finish it.
With the win, the Patriots advance to play No. 1 seeded Mapleton on May 17.
Its great to be moving on, said Lowe. Weve been breaking (our huddles) with Unbreakable for the past couple of weeks. I think we showed that we can play by that phrase, not just say it.

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