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There’s a common saying out there, that the third time is the charm. Some people choose to believe it, others don’t. If you ask the Lincoln Park Railsplitters baseball team, they’ll tell you it’s true. After losing the two previous times in the district championship, the Railsplitters pounded their way to a mercy 11-1 win (5 innings), over the host Dearborn Pioneers to claim the district crown. “We’ve been here three years in a row in the championship and we were finally able to get through the door,” said Lincoln Park Coach Brian Amorose. After losing to Edsel Ford in last year’s championship game, beating them this year in the tournament opener felt great, but Amorose wanted his team to remember that they still had another game to play. “It was retribution in the first game,” said Amorose. “We just had to remind our guys, that that wasn’t the championship game. The one that we had to play for the championship was the championship game.” The Railsplitters didn’t let the long break get to them, and jumped out to a quick 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Alexis Santos, who earned the win in the first game, singled to start the championship game. He would come around to score on a fielder’s choice thanks in part to a sac bunt, and a previous fielder’s choice to advance him to second and third respectively. It was a close game and it looked like the Pioneers were poised to strike soon, but the Railsplitters scored another two runs in the top of the third. Right fielder Nate Hashbarger singled to start the inning. He came around to score thanks to a sac bunt to reach second, and a solid single to left by Santos brought in Hashbarger. Second baseman Cam Lizak was reached base thanks in part to an error on the shortstop. He stole second, reached third on a single by Santos, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to center. The lone run for the Pioneers came from catcher Pat Litwin who walked with one out in the third inning. A balk moved him to second, and he stole third. Junior Adam Dawdy knocked him in with a single. Dearborn had their chances to come back, with a quick inning in the fourth, but they responded with a quick at-bat of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Three of the four batters struck out. That’s when the wheels began to fall off for the Pioneers. Lizak got things started in the top of the fifth inning. Lizak was hit by the pitch, followed by a walk to Santos. With two on and no outs, Steve Glenn hit a sharp line drive to the shortstop. He caught it, but failed to make a routine play to double up Lizak at second and Santos at first. The overthrown ball caused the runners to move up a base. A simple ground ball to third by Mario Mandujano had all runners safe. Andrew Betancourt was hit by the pitch, which brought in Lizak the fourth run. Dakota Locklear then hit another ball to the shortstop, which caused an error, scoring Santos and the fifth run. A sacrifice bunt by Josh Clark brought in Mandujano for the 6-1 lead, which induced a pitching change for the Pioneers. “Andrew Vanrsdale pitched very well in those five innings,” said Dearborn Coach John Allevato. “It would’ve been nice to get out of that inning, actually should’ve. Line drive should’ve doubled the guy up and then the ground ball right to our third baseman.” A big single by Hashbarger scored Betancourt and Locklear, giving the Railsplitters and 8-1 lead with still just one out. With two on and one out, Joel Santos was hit by the pitch, and a passed ball brought in Clark for the 9-1 lead. Lizak was back at the plate, and he fouled out to the third baseman. With two outs, a double to left by Alexis Santos brought in both Hashbarger and his brother Joel. It was two simple plays that should’ve ended the threat, but a couple of easy mistakes extended the inning for the Railsplitters, and in the end, the game. “We had a situation there in the fifth inning, where we make a great play and then turn around and make five bonehead plays after that. That ended up costing us,” said Allevato. The 11-1 lead was enough for the mercy rule. All the Railsplitters needed was a quick three outs in the bottom of the fifth. Javonte “Soup” Campbell got the final three outs of the game for Lincoln Park, winning the district championship. “The guy on the mound, Javonte did a fantastic job. Nobody hit the ball hard off him today, they got two hits I think, a couple of bloops. Very well pitched game on his part, well executed offensively for us,” said Amorose. It was the kind of win that the Railsplitters were hoping to have. After two years of disappointment, the third time was definitely the charm. The Pioneers will only lose six seniors and return a young team. As for the Railsplitters, they have a date next week with the Monroe district championship for the Regional Tournament.
Lincoln Park hammers Dearborn High to win district title PHOTO GALLERY
Baseball - 5/31/2014 2:00 p.m.
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Last Updated: 6/1/2014 5:23:17 PM EST