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LaBrae earns 7-3 sectional win over Lakeview

LEAVITTSBURG — An emotional Dylan Simpson left everything on the home diamond one final time for LaBrae on Wednesday, and the Vikings made the most of it by winning a sectional final 7-3 over Lakeview.

Simpson pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts and one earned run on 98 pitches. After the game, he knelt down by third base to take it all in, and got up to hug his mom.

“It was my last home game in my senior year,” he said. “We had a lot on the line. Lakeview made it known that they wanted to play us. To come out here and close the door on them, it was just great for me and my boys.

“I want to thank my teammates a lot. That was some of the best defense I’ve seen from my guys. Today, I was feeling it. I was hot and just rolled the whole time. All glory to God.”

The Vikings scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. They made it 5-0 in the second before Lakeview got on the board in the top of the fourth on a RBI from Brandon Toot.

LaBrae went ahead 7-1 in the fifth when sophomore Lucas Glaser, who drove in three runs in the game, knocked in Simpson with a double. Fellow sophomore Landon Brunstetter drove in a pair of runs as well.

Hayden Newton had a lead off single in the sixth for Lakeview (11-15), but Simpson got out of trouble when the defense turned a double play.

Simpson was still strong in the seventh as he struck out the side. However, the Bulldogs made things interesting when Jake Nicholas walked, and Carter Doran doubled. Both runners came around to score on an error, but Simpson ended the threat with another K.

“It wasn’t the outcome that we were looking for,” said Lakeview coach Cam Carson. “We felt good about the baseball that we were playing at this point in the season. We’ve had a couple of good games in a row.

“But, Simpson pitched a great game. He got to us early. He kind of set the tone. Then, we just didn’t execute. We let them score early, and we just couldn’t fight back.”

Now, LaBrae (17-5) moves onto the district semifinals.

“It’s going to be a tough battle,” LaBrae coach Edward Anthony said. “Anytime you go into the districts, they are all good teams. We’re really looking forward to it. We’ll continue to work hard, and see where we go.

“We knew Lakeview was going to be a tough test for us. We’re really proud of Dylan (Simpson). He’s 11-0 this year. His earned run average is less than a run per game. He’s ranked in the top 10 in ERA and strikeouts in the state of Ohio. He’s definitely the real deal, and he came through for us today.

“We had some timely hitting by Owen Boone and Brogan Collins. We got a little sloppy in the end. But, Lakeview is a good team. They wanted us in the bracket. We knew it was going to be an intense game.”

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