BRIDGEPORT -- There isn't a single kid on Toronto's roster that was alive the last time the Red Knight's failed to win a Division IV Sectional title.
Toronto captured its 19 consecutive crown with a hard-fought 6-4 victory over Shadyside Wednesday night on Niekro Diamond at Perkins Field.
The sectional's other champion will be crowned tonight when Steubenville Central takes on Bridgeport, which was an 8-7 victor in Wednesday night's opener.
SHADYSIDE’S Adam Stupak scores a run for the Tigers during Wednesday’s Division IV?sectional game against Toronto in Bridgeport. The Tigers were eliminated by the Red Knights, 6-4
TYLER Owens smacked a two-run double in the sixth inning to lift the Red Knights to the 6-4 victory. Owens also tossed a complete game three-hitter for the mound victory.
"Tyler was big on the mound for us and obviously came up huge at the plate in the sixth inning there," Toronto skipper Brian Perkins said. "I had complete confidence that he would come though in a clutch situation and he did just that."
Shadyside jumped out to 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a pair of Red Knight errors and a run-scoring single from sophomore Austin Dorris. Senior Jared Brooks brought in the other run with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze.
Toronto got one back in the bottom of the first on Owens' sacrifice fly. The Knights then tied the game up in the second on a Nate Stewart sac fly.
Senior standout Adam Stupak got things going for the Tigers in the third with a one-out double. After an error, Dorris drove in his second run with a single to right center. Senior Cody Hudson pushed the lead to 4-2 by scoring on a wild pitch.
Toronto cut the deficit to one in the bottom half of the inning as Owens touched home on a wild pitch. The Knights then knotted things in the fourth as Blaze Glenn plated a run with a bse knock to right.
Things stayed that way until the decisive sixth inning as Chez Glenn reached on a one-out bunt. After an out, John Romey's ground ball was misplayed setting up the Knights with two on before Owens smoked a pitch into the left center gap plating both.
"We came out and made some miscues early," Perkins explained. "But, we settled down, regrouped and found a way to get the job done. Our kids kept battling."
Owens scattered three hits while fanning six and walking three.
Brooks was equally effective, but was the victim of two costly errors . He allowed seven hits while striking out five and walking four.
"Toronto is a very good team and Coach Perkins always has them ready to play," Shadyside head coach Mike Meintel explained. "When these two teams play it's usually a good game and tonight was no different.
"You just can't give a good team extra outs and we did that," Meintel added.
Toronto advance to district action Monday night at Cambridge. The Red Knights will meet the winner of Shenandoah and Hiland, which will play tonight.
Shadyside, meanwhile, ends with a 15-9 mark.
"We are losing four great seniors," Meintel explained. "Brooks, Stupak, Hudson and (Chase) Kinemond deserve a lot of credit for the success of the this program over the last few years. They are going to be sorely missed."
Shadyside 202 000 0 - 4 3 2
Toronto 111 102 x - 6 7 4
Batteries: Brooks and Dorris; Owens and Melville.
BRIDGEPORT, meanwhile, built a 6-2 lead after one inning and held on for an 8-7 victory. The Bulldogs will seek a sectional title against Steubenville Central in tonight's 6 o'clock start.
"It wasn't pretty, but this time of year it doesn't have to be," Bridgeport skipper Ted Downing explained. "We were worried coming in cause we had played only once in the last two weeks. We didn't know how we would respond and were sluggish at times, but we battled through it."
Frontier jumped on top in the first without the benefit of a hit. Four walks, four stolen bases and two Bridgeport errors enabled the Cougars to take a 2-0 edge.
Bridgeport answered back with a six spot of its own. Senior Cody Reed had a big two-run single and improving sophomore Andrew Hadzima singled in another.
After both starting pitchers were chased in the first inning, Frontier's Grant Valentine and Bridgeport's Bradley Pritchett took turns putting up zeroes until the bottom of the sixth.
That's when Robert Teeman started a rally with a single. Sophomore standout Bailey McGrath followed with a triple to left to extend the lead to 7-2. He would score on a wild pitch to make it 8-2.
Game over, right? Think again.
Frontier's Mitch Minder opened the seventh with a double followed by a collection of three errors, three walks and a hit by pitch and suddenly the Cougars had pulled to within 8-7 and had the bases loaded but McGrath was able to record a strikeout to end the game.
"Steubenville Central is one of the better teams in the area," Downing said. "We are going to have our hands full. I am happy with how our kids battled through it tonight though."
Frontier 200 000 5 - 7 3 5
Bridgeport 600 002 x - 8 6 6
BATTERIES: Cunningham, Valentive (1), Minder (6) and Kirkbride; Dyson, Pritchett (1), McGrath (7) and Christsakis.