The Bellefontaine Merchants Junior Acme baseball team rallied from four runs down to defeat Perrysburg 5-4 Sunday and claim the school's first-ever Junior Acme state baseball championship.
On Saturday, Bellefontaine defeated Perrysburg 7-5 in the first-game of the best-of-three championship series. Lane Kiser pitched a complete game striking out 10 batters.
Bellefontaine used four first-inning walks and a bases-loaded triple from Calieb Johnson to score six times in the first inning. John Kirby aided the offense going 2-3.
On Sunday, Bellefontaine struggled to get going offensively. With Colton Dement pitching well in relief of starter John Kirby, Bellefontaine was able to hang around until the sixth inning.
Trailing 4-0, Gauge Hayman was hit by the pitch leading off the sixth inning. Jordan Baughman followed with a walk and Kirby singled to load the bases with no outs. A double by Nick Ruble plated two runs and a single by tournament MVP Johnson scored Ruble to make it 4-3.
In the top of the seventh Bellefontaine tied the game. With one out, Joe Oliver doubled off the fence in left center. He moved to third on a wild pitch and came home on a squeeze bunt by Baughman to tie the game.
Bellefontaine took the lead in the top of the eighth when Johnson tripled with one out. He came home when Lane Kiser singled threw the drawn in infield to give Bellefontaine a 5-4 lead.
Perrysburg then put their first two batters on in the bottom of the eighth and Bellefontaine brought in Oliver to relieve the strong effort by DeMent. On the very first pitch from Oliver, the batter missed a bunt and Bellefontaine was able to get the runner in a run down between second and third. After walking the next batter, Baughman caught a Perrysburg runner straying too far off second and following another run down, the Chiefs now had two outs. When the next batter rolled softly to first, Bellefontaine had the victory and the state title.
Bellefontaine finishes the season 23-8.