By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Sometimes, it can be just as nice to have luck on your side as it is to have straight hits.
With runners on first and second with two outs in the second inning, a ball that got away from Milton's Brandon Feltman hit the backstop and quickly shot up the third-base line. An alert Aaron Strosser on second took off as soon as the ball escaped, scoring to put Lewisburg ahead by a run.
Lewisburg erupted for a five-run inning and held on for a 5-2 victory over Milton in a winners' bracket game in the District 13 Area II Major Division tournament at Danny Green Field on Monday.
The bottom of the order came through in the second, as Colt Kline followed with an RBI double to left. After a Brock Noone walk, it was Ramirez's turn to help his own cause.
On a 3-0 count, Ramirez was given the green light and swung away, grounding a ball to Dalton Guisewite at first. Rather than trot over to first to end the inning, Ramirez busted out of the batter's box, sprinting to win the race to the bag and knock in a run.
Two more runs crossed before Milton escaped the inning.
The run support helped Andrew Ramirez to settle in on the mound for Lewisburg. Much like Michael Jordan with whom he shares a number, Ramirez finds that added hustle and motivation to help his team win which he showed on both sides of play.
Ramirez tossed his second consecutive one-hit start, lasting 4 2/3 innings before handing the ball to Nick Shedleski to finish the job. On the rare times that Ramirez found himself in trouble on the mound, he turned to his fastball and escaped a large inning.
"I really wasn't surprised (with Ramirez) for the reason, he's done it all year," Lewisburg manager Jim Snyder said. "I'm just happy he's doing what he's doing right now."
That fastball served a dual purpose as Ramirez was able to rear back and get himself out of tight situations while also doing so without Milton making contact. Staying in the middle of the zone for much of the game, Ramirez finished with 12 strikeouts to three walks.
"If (Ramirez) keeps throwing like that, we're going to be tough to beat," Snyder said.
Lewisburg gave their ace a lead to work with in the top of the second inning, using timely hits and patience at the plate rather than a long ball.
Working with a five-run lead in the top of the fourth, Ramirez was roughed up for two runs but retired the last three hitters on strikes to avert a Milton rally.
A dropped third strike allowed Brandon Feltham to start the inning on base, as the Milton starter hustled down the first-base line before the throw. Ramirez lost Phillip Davis to a walk, giving Milton its first runner in scoring position.
Dalton Guisewite followed with the lone hit that Ramirez allowed, on a sharply-hit groundball to the right side that found its way through the hole to bring home two runs before Ramirez buckled down.
Showing no ill-effects after losing the shutout, Ramirez went back to work by striking out the first two batters. After a hard-fought walk by Dillon Stokes, Shedleski relieved Ramirez.
Shedleski entered some trouble in the bottom of the sixth, as Milton looked to rally. With runners on third and second, Ramirez snagged a fly ball with his momentum towards home plate, ready to fire the ball home if needed.
With the runners stuck on second and third, Shedleski fired two strikeouts to give Lewisburg the win.