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Strong comeback gives Ross first district championship since 2001

The Ross High School baseball team wasn’t rattled by an early 5-0 deficit, even this deep in the tournament.

The Rams made rallying look easy, using a nine-run fifth inning to beat Indian Hill 13-6 on Saturday in a Division II district final at Mason. It was the program’s first district title since 2001.

Ross plays Columbus DeSales in a regional semifinal at 2 p.m. on Thursday on the same field.

“We didn’t play like we usually play and we had a bad inning, but I had no doubt,” Ross coach Jason Rettinger said. “We have fought back all year long. We were hitting the ball pretty hard, but just didn’t catch any breaks, so I thought we would just keep going and keep going. We broke the dam and were able to pile it up a little bit. It was a lot of fun. It’s been a long time since our last district title, so it feels good.”

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Indian Hill (17-13) scored five runs on three hits, two errors, two walks and a pair of wild pitches by Drew Huffman in the third inning after Ross had stranded four runners, including three in scoring position, over the first three frames.

Ross (25-4) got two runs back in the fourth inning on a two-out error that scored Brock Tatum and Sam Stepaniak, who both walked to reach base, but it was an even sloppier four-error fifth inning that allowed the Rams to take the lead.

An error on a routine fly ball in the first at-bat set the tone for the frame, but Zach Arno followed with an RBI triple to get things going. Brennan Morton had a one-out double to bring in Arno, and seven more runs scored on two hits, two walks and three errors.

“It was really exciting,” Arno said of his momentum-swinging triple. “I got a fastball like I was expecting, so I just hit it. I saw it hit the fence and he was still going toward it as I was hitting second, so I knew I could get to third. After that, we had no outs, so I was like, ‘We’ve got all the momentum now.’ I knew we would get things going.”

Montana Allgaier relieved Huffman after that as Huffman was nearing 100 pitches and showing some fatigue from the long third inning. Allgaier protected the lead, allowing just one run on three hits over the final three innings.

The Braves, meanwhile, needed four pitchers to get through the game. Joe Oakes took over to start the fifth inning but was replaced after Ross went up 6-5 with the help of back-to-back walks with one out, and Ian Book left in the sixth. Zach Evans tacked on two more runs for Ross on a single to center field off freshman Teddy Taylor.

Indian Hill had just finished its suspended sectional final game Friday, but coach Scott Lloyd said that didn’t affect his pitchers.

“We were ready to go,” Lloyd said. “We came out and got five quick ones, but we have one bad inning and it slips away from us quickly. Unfortunately, that’s the game of baseball. It wasn’t an ideal situation (finishing a suspended game Friday), but it didn’t affect us. They did a great job. It’s been about 25 years since Indian Hill has been a part of something like this. So they worked hard, it was a good year, and we just came up a little short today.”

Ross 000-292-0—13-9-5

Indian Hill 005-001-0—6-6-6

WP — Drew Huffman (6-1); LP — Joe Oakes (4-4). Records: R 25-4, IH 17-13

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