Mason defeated Centerville 3-2 in a tight ball game at University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott Stadium to win the southwest regional semi-final game. Will Pfennig (9-0) tossed another gem – this time a complete game 3-hitter. Pfennig allowed just three hits and two earned runs on the day to go with nine strikeouts.
The Comets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Sharp singles by Joe Powell and J.P. Sponseller were followed by a two-out triple to right field from Cole Harting.
The Elks responded with two runs of their own in the top of the second to tie the game at 2-2. But, the Mason defense was solid behind Pfennig to limit the damage. Shortstop Max Johnson made a circus catch on the lead off hitter in short left field to record the first out of the inning. Then, with the bases loaded, Cole Harting went in to the gap in left center to catch a ball that would have easily cleared the bases. That play ended up being the biggest of the game.
In the Mason second, Harrison Johnson led off the inning with a double down the right field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Ben Kraus then produced what would prove to be the game winning RBI. After fouling off pitches with two strikes, Kraus launched a sacrifice fly to center that was plenty deep enough to easily score Johnson.
From the third inning on, the game was a battle between two outstanding pitchers. Centerville’s Nick Hoffman and Mason’s Will Pfennig each pitched complete games and no further runs would be scored in the game. For Pfennig, seven of the game’s final fifteen outs came via strikeout. With one out in the Centerville seventh inning, Cole Harting made his second clutch defensive play of the game – a diving catch in the right center gap that prevented a triple.
With today’s win, Mason advances to the Elite 8 and a matchup with Moeller with a trip to Columbus on the line. Game time is 5:00 PM on Friday, May 25th at University of Cincinnati’s Marge SchottStadium.