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Bad hop hit rallies Highlanders past Fighting Tigers

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — For five innings, Howie Lucas handcuffed the Huntington Highlanders.

But a ball that handcuffed an Ironton infielder set the Highlanders free as they scored twice on the play and edged the Fighting Tigers 2-1 Thursday.

“Howie pitched a great game. They score two runs on a ball that barely clears the infield. It was a tough game to lose, but our kids battled hard against a good team,” said Ironton coach Tobey Schreck.

With one out, Zach Sizemore singled and Trace Dempsey doubled to put runners at second and third base for Huntington. With the infield drawn in, Michael Meadows hit a hard shot that bounced off the third baseman’s glove and went high into the air.

The ball landed a few feet off into the outfield grass as both runners scored.

Ironton (11-7) had taken a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Darren Dalton walked, went to third base when Lucas reached on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Steve Easterling.

But Ironton didn’t threaten the rest of the game as they managed just three more singles by Lucas, Easterling and Anthony Harper. Ethan Preston had a first inning double but was left stranded.

Lucas struck out four, walked two and allowed just four hits. Matt Geiger also pitched a four-hitter for Huntington as he struck out eight and walked one.

Ironton hosts Chesapeake at 5 p.m. Monday.

Ironton 010 000 0 = 1 4 2

Huntington 000 002 x = 2 4 2

Howie Lucas and Ethan Preston. Matt Geiger and Ben Haer. W-Geiger (8-K, 1-BB). L-Lucas (4-K, 2-BB). 2B_Ironton: Ethan Preston; Huntington: Trace Dempsey. Hitting-Ironton: Anthony Harper 1-3, Ethan Preston 1-3, Howie Lucas 1-3, Steve Easterling 1-2; Huntington: Elias Haikal 12, Zach Sizemore 1-2, Trace Dempsey 1-3, Michael Meadows 1-3.