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The complete game in baseball is a rarity at any level, much less a pitcher throwing over 100 pitches in any start.
Sunday at Butler Rodman Park in Alliance, Ryan Stoller accomplished both feats, guiding the Garfield Memorial Animal Hospital G-Men to a tightly-fought 4-2 F League second-round victory over the Canton Pirates.
Stoller piled up 115 pitches as he logged his second complete game of the season. In going the distance, the right-hander struck out 11, yielded nine hits, surrendered only one walk and hit a batter as the G-Men poised themselves for next weekend's regional round in Alliance, where they will face Promos Unlimited Saturday at noon.
Stoller gave up at least one hit in every inning but limited the damage by only issuing the one free pass. Things began to get a little dicey in the final two frames but Stoller still had enough in the tank to seal the deal.
With Garfield (16-4) ahead 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Stoller fanned the first two batters and looked in control. However, Stoller then hit Nate Martinez to keep the inning going. After a couple of steals put Martinez at third, Chaise Swanson laced a double to left to get Canton on the board. Stoller put an end to the mini-rally by striking out Zach Flowers, who earlier had singled twice off Stoller.
After the G-Men went quickly in the seventh, the Pirates countered with their biggest threat of the afternoon.
The first Canton hitter collected a single and moved to third on two swipes. Stoller held firm by fanning Sam Wyer looking at a called third strike, then getting Hunter Brouder on a swinging strike three. But Stoller wasn't out of trouble just yet.
The Pirates' best hitter on the day, Ryan Hanlon, stepped in the box and delivered his third single of the contest, producing Canton's second tally of the day and bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Terry Dillon. Dillon kept the Pirates' momentum going by coaxing a walk off Stoller. On the play, the ball got away toward the backstop allowing Dillon to race to second base as the game's tying run.
But with the pitches adding up, Stoller reached back and got ahead of Lucas Joy 0-2, then struck him out swinging on a 2-2 pitch to nail down the victory.
Things began loudly for a Garfield offense which scored 16 runs just 24 hours earlier. For the second straight game, the G-Men erupted for three runs in the first inning thanks to an error which plated a run, Anthony Demma's run-producing single and a wild pitch.
Aidan McDougall added an RBI double in the second to make it 4-0. But then the offense became very quiet when Martinez replaced Canton starter Flowers with two away in the second frame.
Martinez went the remainder of the game, allowing only two hits, two walks and no runs while striking out 10 as he kept his team in contention.
Stoller finished with a double, single and scored two runs to complete a very productive afternoon. Lenny Veccia also doubled for the G-Men, who were held to just five hits.
Another Garfield F League team was also victorious Sunday. Here is a recap of that contest:
GARFIELD DAVEY TREE GIANTS 14, ALLIANCE KIWANIS 4
Joseph Perrine belted a long first-inning home run and also doubled to lead Davey Tree to a big victory.
The Giants pounded out 11 hits and improved to 16-3 on the season. They will play the Canton Rangers next Saturday at 3 p.m. in a regional contest.
Perrine launched a shot over the left-field fence to give his team a quick 1-0 lead.
Alliance (12-5) battled back with a pair of runs off Garfield's Seth Semety in the bottom of the frame. The first three batters all singled on the first pitch they saw and the team's cleanup hitter was hit on the first pitch he saw. Semety then induced a fielder's choice to himself. He threw home for the force, but the ensuing throw to first was errant and two runs crossed the plate.
Semety settled down nicely after his rough first frame and yielded just two runs and four hits the rest of the way.
Payton Yancey's two-out single in the second tied the game at two and was a precursor to a huge third-inning outburst by the Giants' offense.
The first nine hitters to face Alliance's Brennen Bell and reliever Kyle Baer all reached safetly -- seven by hits, one by walk and one by hit-by-pitch -- and the end result was eight runs to make it a 10-2 rout. The big hits in the rally included Kaidan Spade's two-run double to deep center and Scott Hatfield's two-RBI two-bagger past first base.
Gage Berlin's two-run single in the bottom of the third closed the count to 10-4. The Giants answered with a pair of runs in the fourth and the fifth to go up by double digits. Three of the runs scored via Alliance miscues.
GARFIELD GLADIATORS 19, BRISTOL-FARM INDIANS 9
Garfield started strong and kept the pressure on the Indians.
The Gladiators scored six in the first to stake themselves to a 6-0 lead, then added seven more in the second to go ahead 13-2.
The Indians countered with four in their half of the second to keep things competitive at 13-6. Garfield's bats, however, could not be silenced and the Gladiators responded with three-run frames in the third and fourth to win going away.
Garfield will play the Mathews Mustangs next Sunday at 4:30 in a regional tilt.
Jackson Sommer collected three singles to lead the Garfield hit parade. Max May, Nate Veccia and Cameron Edwards each had two singles and Edwards also belted a triple. Leo Grandizio and Tyler Bartz added doubles.
On the mound for the Gladiators, Edwards, Vince Grandizio and Carter Bates combined for nine strikeouts.
GARFIELD THUNDER 7, H&M TIRE 0
The Thunder advanced by virtue of a forfeit. They will face the Ravenna Beasts next Saturday at 2 p.m.