Ohio Glaciers top Creekside Fitness to force deciding Class B title game
By Joe Scalzo
At 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, with the Class B championship series game tied at 2 after seven innings, Ohio Glaciers coach Don Pletcher turned to his ace pitcher, Dion Felger, and joked, “You’re good until 10 o’clock tonight.”
Thanks to Christian Porterfield, he only needed him for 40 more minutes.
Porterfield hit a game-winning double to right field in the bottom of the 10th to score Zack Miller and lift the Glaciers to a 3-2 victory over Creekside Fitness in Game 4 of the Class B championship series at Cene Park.
The teams will play the deciding game tonight at 8.
It was the first game-winning hit for the 18-year-old Porterfield, who started playing baseball when he was 9.
When asked if he was confident he’d snap that streak before the at-bat, Porterfield paused and said, “Um, kinda. But I had a bad reputation of not fulfilling that part when it comes to having a base hit at the end of the game.”
That’s gone now. Porterfield came to the plate with nobody out and runners at first and second, thanks to Miller reaching on an error and Scott Pierce’s infield single. He was supposed to bunt, but with the infield creeping in, he swung away on two high fastballs before driving the third into right.
“I knew after I chased two fastballs that I’d get another one and that’s what I was sitting on,” Porterfield said. “Right off the bat, I knew it had burned the outfielder.”
Felger, an Ursuline High graduate, was pitching on two days’ rest after throwing a one-hitter in Sunday’s series opener, which the Glaciers won 2-1. He gave up runs in the first and third innings before settling down, finishing with a seven-hitter that included four strikeouts, one walk and a very tired arm.
“The pain is starting to settle in,” he said, “but out there I felt nothing.
“I don’t know how I went that long, honestly.”
“I wouldn’t want the ball in anyone else’s hands with the game on the line,” added Pletcher, who said Felger was going to be replaced in the 11th. “He’s a clutch performer. Nothing rattles him.”
The same was true of his counterpart, Creekside pitcher Dave LeMasters, who also went the distance, giving up just five hits while striking out 11 and walking three.
Creekside lost to the Astro Falcons in last year’s championship series and finished first in this year’s regular season with a 25-2 record. The Glaciers were second this year at 20-7.
Now, each team is one win away from the title.
“We’re a little bit different from most teams,” Pletcher said. “We’re real loosey-goosey. We like to have fun. We believe it’s just summer baseball. The old saying is we’re happy to be here, but we are. We truly are.
“We’re going to compete [tonight] but we just like playing the game.”