The Springfield Spartans baseball team did enough this season to get a home playoff game—their first in years.
They just couldn’t do enough Thursday to defeat the Marlington Dukes, which advanced to face Triway after a 3-0 win in the first round of the Div. II Canton District Tournament.
Springfield’s mistakes played as much of a role in the game as did their lack of offense. Senior Spartans pitcher Seth Robinson walked three runners in the first inning—one of which scored Marlington’s first run. It would be all the Dukes would need in the game, despite a fantastic performance from Robinson from that point on.
Robinson pitched a complete game and struck out 15 batters while giving up four hits and four walks. Those numbers are typically good enough to win, but the Spartans only managed three hits themselves.
“We had strong pitching from Seth,” Springfield head coach Scott Swan said. “Our offense didn’t perform.”
Robinson had a hit in the first inning, but it would be Springfield’s last until the seventh.
Singles by sophomore Michael Perkins and freshman Ryan Vaughn gave the Spartans runners at first and second base with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. But a bunt in the ensuing at-bat resulted in a close-call out at first base.
“That would have given us bases loaded with no outs,” Swan said.
It also would have given Robinson another at bat. Instead, the next two Spartans batters struck out, ending the game.
The Dukes scored a run in the fifth inning and another in the sixth. The Spartans tried to nail a runner leading off at second base in the fifth, but no one was on the bag and the throw was off-target and rolled into the outfield, allowing him to score.
“We made a few mistakes out in the field,” Swan said. “That error—we had the guy dead to rights and we gave them that.”
The Dukes earned their final run on a line drive to center field with runners on first and third. The hit gave Marlington a 3-0 advantage with runners at first and second, but Robinson got the final batter of the top of the inning to pop out.
Though disappointed in the loss, Swan is looking for the Spartans to finish their season on a high note. Springfield will host then travel to face the league-leading Ravenna Ravens Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
Page 2 of 2 - “Ravenna is tough competition,” Swan said. “They’re in first in the league, but we want to finish out strong. We’re 13-9 now. That’s the most wins we’ve had since [the current coaching staff] has been here. But I want to finish with 14 or 15 wins.”