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WOOSTER -- Wooster Bronze was faced with a win-or-go-home scenario Saturday night, and the Blue and Gold opted to play another day, pasting the West Holmes Squires 11-1 in five innings in the championship semifinal of the Wayne-Holmes Summer Baseball Bronze Division.
The finals will pit the same two teams against each other Monday at 6 p.m. at Triway's Hitchcock Field. Wooster improved to 18-2 on the season, while West Holmes lost its first tournament game, dropping to 16-3.
"These guys play well together. They're coachable and they're all respectable young men," said Wooster coach Tom Boyer. "They earned this."
A walk, a stolen base and a single by Elisha Steiner drove home the first run for Wooster in the second inning against hard-throwing Daniel Hershberger of the Squires.
Steiner moved up on an errant pick-off attempt and scored on a single through the hole by Jake Carmon for a 2-0 lead.
Wooster tacked on three more in the third, getting singles by Kaleb Lamb and Connor Anderson. Lamb stole second and scored on Anderson's hit. A hit batter and a walk loaded the bases, and Steiner stroked a ground ball through the third baseman to score two, giving Lee Boyer all the offense he would need on the hill for the winners.
"I was pretty much just throwing fastballs," Boyer said. "I was relying on my defense. They did a pretty good job."
Wooster turned two double plays behind Boyer.
The Squires managed only two hits off Boyer, who fanned five, walked two and hit three. "I normally have better control, but I was having trouble hitting my stride and not stepping straight. I was striding more towards the batter," he said.
Hershberger walked to lead off the West Holmes third, stole second and third and scored on a groundout by Matthew Young for the lone tally for the Squires.
Wooster responded by scoring six times in the top of the fourth inning. Two walks and a bunt single by Grayson Sipes loaded the bases, and leadoff man Lamb unloaded them with a two-run single. A wild throw to second let Lamb come all the way around to third, scoring three.
A hit batsman and a stolen base put runners at second and third, and Boyer helped his own cause with a two-run single to center. He later scored on a wild throw trying to catch him stealing, giving Wooster an 11-1 lead in the fourth inning.
Wooster needed six outs and Boyer fanned three and got a double play to end the game.
"We're just going to have to regroup and come back strong on Monday," said West Holmes coach Taylor Straits. "We've got to show up a different team. We have to play like the team we have been. We've been rolling through this tournament and played some pretty good games. We just have to show up as the team we have been and put a good game together."Hershberger allowed 11 runs on six hits. He walked five and hit a pair. He also struck out seven. Channer Wells worked an inning of scoreless relief, striking out one and walking three.
Lamb led the Wooster offensive with two hits and a walk, scoring twice.
Anderson and Boyer also scored two times apiece, giving Wooster six runs and four hits from the top three hitters in the lineup.