TIFFIN — State rules cap a high school pitcher at 10 innings over three days. Jordan Bostater reached that limit in two hours.
The Bryan senior and his rubber right arm were resilient Friday, matching Bostater’s counterpart of Sandusky Perkins with one scoreless inning after another in a thrilling Division II regional final.
It wasn’t enough, though, and Bryan’s unlikely excursion through the postseason is over one inning short of the state tournament. The Golden Bears never scored in 10 innings, losing 1-0 and wasting a fine effort by their workhorse.
Bostater had his way with the state’s 10th-ranked team until he misplaced an 0-2, two-out fastball in the top of the 10th that Luke Fraley, Perkins’ pitcher, ripped down the line in left with the bases loaded.
It was a rare mistake made by Bostater, who was not charged with an earned run because of a throwing error by third baseman Paris Creek to start the inning.
“In our scouting report of that team, they told me just what kind of competitor — that football mentality — Bostater is,” Perkins coach Ray Neill said.
“He showed me all of that and more today.”
Bostater, an offensive lineman on Bryan’s regional final football team, was sharp from the start. He faced just one batter over the minimum through three innings, and struck out No. 5 hitter Connor Mapus an inning later to strand a runner on third.
Perkins, which outscored its other four postseason opponents 29-3, didn’t get an extra base hit until the ninth.
This wasn’t all about Bostater’s dominance. His teammates made two key defensive plays in the sixth, first executing a rundown between second and third, and then catcher Derek Knisely throwing out a would-be base stealer.
Credit the defense with stranding runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth as well.
“It was fun,” Bostater said. “I was glad the way we battled.”
Bostater, considered a co-ace with Thursday’s winner Bailey Martin, tossed a relatively low 125 pitches, never reaching 20 in an inning. He struck out seven and walked three.
“He doesn’t have the best stuff, but he’s a warrior,” Bryan coach Jeff Inselmann said. “He competed, and he held an excellent hitting team in check for almost 10 innings. Couldn’t be any more proud of him.”
His counterpart was pretty good as well. One day after Perkins got a one-hit, 14-strikeout performance from Ohio State commitment Braun Miller, Fraley was nearly as masterful. The senior righty logged 112 pitches, striking out five and walking one. He controlled the bottom of the 10th with calm, allowing one baserunner before getting lead off hitter Deylen Miley to fly out to end the game.
“All I gotta do is touch my ears, nose, and chin and let those kids do it,” Neill said.
Bryan’s offensive scuffling began in the first inning when Knisely was thrown out at home after running through Inselmann’s stop sign.
The Bears stranded a runner in scoring position in innings five through seven, and nearly won the game in regulation on a ball Creek ripped foul by a few feet.
“We were 90 feet away a couple of innings,” Inselmann said. “That’s baseball. You gotta have clutch hits.”