HAMLER — Sometimes in baseball, all you can do is tip your hat.
That was certainly the case in the Division IV regional final at Patrick Henry on Friday where Tinora put together an impressive 17-hit attack. The Rams hit the ball hard throughout and shutout host Patrick Henry 14-0 in a game shortened to five innings by the mercy rule.
The top four hitters in Tinora's batting order went 13 for 15 with seven doubles and drove in 10 runs.
The Rams advanced to the state semifinals for the fourth consecutive season behind a stellar effort by senior starting pitcher Reid Renollet. The left-hander went 4 for 4 with three doubles and scored four runs. He allowed no runs and two hits while striking out five in four innings.
“We've been starting to hit well at the right time,” Renollet said. “We hit it hard and found holes.”
Tinora (23-4) scored one run in the first inning, but Patrick Henry (21-10) had a chance to answer back in the bottom of the inning. The Patriots had runners at the corners with one out but failed to score.
The Rams then broke it open with five runs in the second inning, put it out of reach with four more in the fourth and poured it on with four more in the fifth. The Patriots stranded two runners in both the first and third innings and left six on base overall.
“All you can do is stand back and tip your cap,” PH coach Shawn Sunderman said. “In the first inning, it would have been nice to answer there. But we didn't do that and they came back out and crushed the ball in the top of the second.
“That pushed the water over the dam there.”
The Patriots, who were seeking in the program's fourth regional title since 2002, got a gutsy effort from starter Kollin Spence. The senior had a black eye after a ground ball struck him when he was playing third in Patrick Henry's 13-2 win over McComb in Thursday's regional semifinal.
Spence had two of his team's three hits.
“You have to have a short-term memory,” Spence said. “Going out there I was feeling okay. The swelling went down. I was seeing okay. It was the regional finals and I was going to do whatever I could. But they are a great team all around. They came out just stroking the ball today. There wasn't a lot we could do about it.”
Sunderman said Tinora senior Clay Pittman’s father, who is a doctor, helped Spence by calling in a prescription.
“He could see fine. He had some swelling,” Sunderman said. “It was a nice gesture on their part. Kollin is a competitor. He just left a few balls up over the plate. We knew they were going to score some runs today but didn't expect that many.
“They came out and they wanted it.”
The Rams scored three runs with two outs in the second. Logan Bailey hit his first home run of the season to give the Rams a 3-0 lead. Then with two down, EJ Kissel doubled and scored on Renollet's double. After an intentional walk, Derek Drewes' single scored two more for a 6-0 Tinora lead.
Tinora then pounded out five more hits, including RBI doubles by Pittman and Drewes, to tack on four more runs. The Rams had four hits in a four-run fifth for the final margin.
Kissel, the lead-off hitter, went 3 for 4 with a double and scored three runs. Renollet, the No. 2 hitter, had an RBI to go along with his four hits. Pittman, who bats third, went 3 for 3 with three runs batted in. Drewes, the cleanup hitter, was 3 for 4 with four RBIs.
“They've done that for four years,” Tinora coach Brent Renollet said. “That is what we expect out of them and they got the job done today.”
His son Reid had pitched just six innings this season.
“He was a gamer,” coach Renollet said. “We tried to save him all year for this moment and it worked out. This is an awesome feeling. I don't have to say good-bye to seven seniors yet.”
Patrick Henry, which won back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009, was looking to play for its third state berth in the last seven years. The Patriots went 7-1 in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League.
“Nobody gave us a chance this year,” Sunderman said. “We were picked to finish fourth. We didn't have a lot of great talent but he had nine kids that worked hard together.”