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After edging their Ravenna rival, the Thunder, on Saturday, the Ravenna Mustangs kept their hot streak going as they held off Knox Ruritans from the Sebring area, 23-20, Sunday to advance to next weekend's regional semifinal contest in the Ravenna Hot Stove Tournament at Volunteer Park.
The first inning proved key for Ravenna, as the Mustangs outscored the Ruritans, 3-2, in the frame.
With teams limited to just five runs per inning in Hot Stove, the lead forced Sebring to play catchup the rest of the game.
With the two teams playing coach pitch for the first three innings, the Mustangs built a 13-12 lead entering the fourth inning.
Facing two different Knox pitchers, Ravenna scored the maximum tallies in the fourth and fifth to stretch its advantage to 23-16 heading into the final frame.
The Ruritans third pitcher, Luke Curry, finally shut down Ravenna's bats, holding the Mustangs scoreless for the first time in the game, but he almost didn't finish the inning.
After Curry struck out the first two batters, Ravenna's Tyler Stelzer hit a one-hopper back to the mound. The ball took a nasty hop and hit Curry in the forehead.
After being examined, Curry went back in the field and ended the frame by running into foul territory and catching a foul popup.
Trailing by just four runs (23-19), Sebring had a chance to win the game in its last at-bat and it looked promising as the Ruritans opened the inning with a single by Curry off the Mustangs' third pitcher, Brayden Brooks.
Drake Stryffeler followed with a double to chase home Curry to cut the lead to three runs.
Brooks, however, bore down and struck out the next two batters and, after hitting a batter, struck out the final hitter to end the game.
In the top of the first, Ravenna got a double from Brooks, and singles by Clayton Crow, Kooper Russell and Ryan Kelly to take a 3-0 lead.
The Ruritans countered with a pair of tallies on a double by Stryffeler.
The Mustangs then scored five runs in each of the next four innings.
The big blows of the second were a two-run home run by Stelzer and an RBi single by Russell.
In the third, Kelly smacked a two-run home run, Stelzer had a two-run triple and Landon Mitchell added a double.
In the fourth, Ravenna scored its five runs on only two hits, thanks to two bases-loaded walks, a bases-loaded hit batsman and singles by Brooks and Dominic Dozanti.
The Mustangs scored five more in the fifth without a hit, as the Knox pitcher walked seven batters and hit another.
Stelzer led Ravenna's offense with a home run, triple and single; Kelly had a home run and single; Brooks had a double and single; while Russell and Donzanti added two singles apiece.
Curry paced the Ruritans with two doubles and three singles, Stryffeler had three doubles, while Triston Wolfe and Jaden Randlett had two doubles and a single each.
The Mustangs will play MAC Services next Saturday in a 9 a.m. game at Volunteer Park.