New Miami rallies past MVCA for first sectional title since 1983

New Miami’s Christian Acus slides under the tag of Miami Valley Christian Academy pitcher Nathaniel Arington during their Division IV sectional final Wednesday at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Christian Acus slides under the tag of Miami Valley Christian Academy pitcher Nathaniel Arington during their Division IV sectional final Wednesday at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

You’ll have to forgive the New Miami Vikings if they don’t quite have down pat this whole celebration thing.

When you haven’t won a prep baseball sectional championship in more than three decades, you can get a little rusty.

Sophomore center fielder Jaden Phillips capped a sixth-inning, three-run rally with a wind-aided bloop single to short right field, driving in the go-ahead run in second-seeded New Miami’s 6-5 win over No. 4 Miami Valley Christian Academy in a Division IV sectional final Wednesday at Kings.

Phillips’ hit capped a comeback from a 5-1 second-inning deficit and propelled the 16-10 Vikings into their first district championship game since 1983, according to coach Ralph Lunsford. They are scheduled to meet Tri-County North on Friday at 5 p.m. at Lebanon.

“That’s my high school’s big rival,” said Lunsford, a Twin Valley South product.

DIVISION III: Carlisle blanks Brookville behind Goodpaster

The Vikings were well aware of their sectional championship drought, Phillips said.

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Ronnie Bowman is tagged out at home plate by Miami Valley Christian Academy catcher Seth Henderson during their Division IV sectional final at Kings on Wednesday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

New Miami’s Ronnie Bowman is tagged out at home plate by Miami Valley Christian Academy catcher Seth Henderson during their Division IV sectional final at Kings on Wednesday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Ronnie Bowman is tagged out at home plate by Miami Valley Christian Academy catcher Seth Henderson during their Division IV sectional final at Kings on Wednesday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

“We preach it all the time,” he said. “We’re well aware that there’s been a lot of pain. I haven’t been a part of it that long, but it was great to do it for them.”

New Miami’s postgame celebration wasn’t without its own drama. Senior pitcher-outfielder Wayden McIntyre, who worked six gritty innings to improve to 4-1 this season, rolled his right ankle, but he is expected to be ready for Friday’s game.

“We’re not used to it,” Lunsford said with a wry smile. “What did I tell you? We don’t do anything easy.”

Phillips had the only hit in New Miami’ sixth inning, which started with senior third baseman Kyle Kellum being hit by a pitch — the fourth Viking to be hit by a pitch in the game, but the only one of them to be drilled once.

Senior catcher Austin Howard followed with a fielder’s-choice grounder, but Phillips’ brother — senior second baseman Jordan — was hit by a pitch for the second time in a game. Freshman left fielder Danny Spivey coaxed a walk to load the bases, and sophomore first baseman Ronnie Bowman pushed across a run by — what else? — getting hit by a pitch.

“That’s been our mantra all season,” Lunsford said. “That’s our batter’s box. We’re not moving.”

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Robby Hundley puts the bat on the ball Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

New Miami’s Robby Hundley puts the bat on the ball Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Robby Hundley puts the bat on the ball Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Jordan Phillips drove in the tying run on a fielder’s-choice grounder, setting up Jaden Phillips’ pop-up behind into short right field that the strong, steady wind pushed away from the MVCA second baseman and right fielder, allowing Bowman to score the go-ahead run from second base.

“(The count) was 3-2, and I swung at a high pitch,” said Jaden Phillips, who walked twice and scored twice as New Miami’s No. 9 hitter. “I swung at ball four, but it was worked out. When it dropped, I was relieved.”

McIntyre allowed three hits and five runs, all unearned, and had six strikeouts. He also walked three batters, hit three more — his contributions to the 10 walks and 10 hit batsmen the two teams combined to produce — and uncorked two wild pitches, but he retired nine straight batters one out into the sixth inning, opening the door for New Miami to chip away at MVCA’s 5-1 lead. There were more combined walks and hit batsmen than hits.

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Jaden Phillips steals second as Miami Valley Christian Academy second baseman Gavin Bangert chases a bad throw Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

New Miami’s Jaden Phillips steals second as Miami Valley Christian Academy second baseman Gavin Bangert chases a bad throw Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Jaden Phillips steals second as Miami Valley Christian Academy second baseman Gavin Bangert chases a bad throw Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

The Lions (12-10) took a 1-0 lead in the first, but Christian Acus — who led off and started at shortstop before pitching the seventh for his first save of the season — led off the first with the first of his three hits, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball. He drove in Jaden Phillips with a two-out single in the second, and moved Phillips to second base with a single in the fourth. Phillips ended up scoring on a MVCA error.

New Miami also saw a potential sacrifice fly turn into an inning-ending double play when the runner was thrown out at the plate.

“We didn’t play well early, but we shook it off,” Lunsford said.

MVCA 140-000-0—5-3-2

New Miami 110-103-x—6-5-3

WP — Wayden McIntyre (4-1); LP — Gavin Bangert; S — Christian Acus (1). Records: M 12-10, N 16-10

caption arrowCaption
New Miami second baseman Jordan Phillips tries to field a Miami Valley Christian Academy ground ball as MVCA’s Nathaniel Scheffer runs to second during their Division IV sectional final Wednesday at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

New Miami second baseman Jordan Phillips tries to field a Miami Valley Christian Academy ground ball as MVCA’s Nathaniel Scheffer runs to second during their Division IV sectional final Wednesday at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami second baseman Jordan Phillips tries to field a Miami Valley Christian Academy ground ball as MVCA’s Nathaniel Scheffer runs to second during their Division IV sectional final Wednesday at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Wayden McIntyre delivers a pitch during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

New Miami’s Wayden McIntyre delivers a pitch during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Wayden McIntyre delivers a pitch during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami first baseman Ronnie Bowman tags first for the unassisted out during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

New Miami first baseman Ronnie Bowman tags first for the unassisted out during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami first baseman Ronnie Bowman tags first for the unassisted out during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final against Miami Valley Christian Academy at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Wayden McIntyre slides under the tag of Miami Valley Christian Academy third baseman Aaron McCoy on Wednesdsay during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

New Miami’s Wayden McIntyre slides under the tag of Miami Valley Christian Academy third baseman Aaron McCoy on Wednesdsay during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami’s Wayden McIntyre slides under the tag of Miami Valley Christian Academy third baseman Aaron McCoy on Wednesdsay during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami third baseman Kyle Kellum fields a Miami Valley Christian Academy ground ball Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

New Miami third baseman Kyle Kellum fields a Miami Valley Christian Academy ground ball Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
New Miami third baseman Kyle Kellum fields a Miami Valley Christian Academy ground ball Wednesday during a Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
Miami Valley Christian Academy shortstop Sam Smith goes high for the throw as New Miami’s Christian Acus steals second base during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Miami Valley Christian Academy shortstop Sam Smith goes high for the throw as New Miami’s Christian Acus steals second base during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

caption arrowCaption
Miami Valley Christian Academy shortstop Sam Smith goes high for the throw as New Miami’s Christian Acus steals second base during Wednesday’s Division IV sectional final at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

About the Author