CORRYVILLE – They say there’s no such thing as an ugly win.
Moeller High School’s baseball team can attest to that as they racked up five errors to Mason’s three in their 7-4 regional championship win at the University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium Friday.
The Crusaders still managed to win as they plated three runs in the sixth inning of a tie game to advance to the state semifinals for the seventh time under coach Tim Held.
Last year against Mason, Moeller surrendered a lead and had to go to extra innings. This year’s game saw them give up a 3-1 advantage in the fifth inning and actually trail 4-3.
Moeller sent seven players to the plate in the first inning against Mason starter Andy Marzhauser. Josh Hollander doubled and moved to third where Patrick Mullinger brought him in with a sacrifice fly. Kyle Butz later singled in the second run for the early 2-0 lead.
Moeller starter Grant Macchiocchi kept Mason hitless until the third. Marzhauser reached on an error and was later singled in by Dylan Bryant to make it 2-1.
Moeller scored again in the fourth to go up 3-1.
In the fifth inning, Macciocchi gave up a leadoff walk to Logan Williams, who came in on Michael Treft’s double down the third-base line to get Mason within a run at 3-2. Tyler Krabbe then singled and Rodney Hutchison struck out. However, the third strike was dropped and thrown into right field, scoring Treft to tie the game at three. Krabbe then scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Northcut and Mason took the 4-3 lead.
The Crusaders had three of their five errors in the inning.
“What a crazy game,” Held said afterward. “We’ve been playing great defensively until today. If you would’ve told me we were going to make five errors in a game, I’d say you were crazy.”
Moeller got the run back in the bottom of the frame on a Mitch Meece sacrifice fly.
Mason threatened in the sixth inning by loading the bases with one out against reliever Mitchell Bault. Coach Held then went to the bullpen for Joe Vranesic who coaxed a fly out and fielder’s choice to get out of the inning unscathed.
Moeller took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Bailey Montoya doubled, Kyle Dockus walked, Hollander singled and Eric Conner delivered a sacrifice fly to center. The Crusaders added two more runs to give Vranesic some breathing room.
The Comets got two on with two out before Vranesic registered the final strikeout for more Moeller hardware and a trip to Huntington Park.
Vranesic was injured in last season’s dogpile against Mason. It was satisfying for Held to see his senior pitcher get the win in relief.
“We know we can bring him out of the pen and he’s good for 30, 40, 50 pitches,” Held said.
Moeller is now 29-3 with Held seeking his fourth state title.
The Comets finish 23-8 and coach Curt Bly loses nine seniors. Mason had defeated Turpin, Loveland, Troy and La Salle in the postseason before falling to the Crusaders.
“We’re disappointed in the outcome, but I’d never ever be disappointed in them,” Bly said. “They’ve been a joy to coach and we continue to move our program forward. To play in this regional title game again is a credit to those guys.”