Allegany walks off Fort Hill, 3-2, in playoffs; Sneathen wins it in 8th

May 12—CUMBERLAND — The phrase survive and advance seems to be the best description of Saturday's West Region I semifinal.

In a very evenly played game over eight innings, top-seed Allegany did just enough to defeat fourth-seeded Fort Hill, 3-2, on a Josef Sneathen walk-off single.

"Single-elimination baseball is a funny thing," Allegany head coach Jon Irons said. "Sometimes you just gotta win ugly. I think that's what we did today. We pitched the ball extremely well, but we were terrible in the box. That's part of baseball, you're not always gonna hit your best. But you have to win ugly and find a way, at least we did that."

The Campers (19-2) struck first with back-to-back singles from Myles Bascelli and Caedon Wallace in the bottom of the first.

Wallace sent a ground ball up the middle for an RBI and a 1-0 Allegany lead.

The Sentinels (9-10) answered in the third with back-to-back hits by Steven Spencer and Bobby Brauer.

"Tough fought game, the first game was 6-0, second 7-1, we fight them through eight innings this time," Fort Hill head coach Tanner Brode said. "I was really pleased with my guys."

Brauer hit a fly ball down the right field line that dropped in for an RBI knock.

Allegany took the lead in the fourth on a popup to first base.

After the Fort Hill first baseman made the catch, he fired to third with the runner at second tagging. The throw sailed high, allowing a run to score and put the Campers ahead 2-1.

Through five innings, the Sentinels only had two runners, both in the third.

That changed in the sixth on a Carson Bender single and a Jake Rice walk to set up a rally.

"I think we just got some energy going," Brode said of what changed. "Bryson Metz and Cam Davis got the kids together, got them up, got them juiced. It just kinda changed, a little flip of the switch."

Fort Hill tied the score later in the inning on a groundout off the bat of Peyton Blocher.

It was a similar story for Allegany, which only had two runners on once after scoring its second run in the third inning.

The Campers finished with five hits compared to four for the Sentinels.

"I think we were uncharacteristically tight in the box," Irons said. "I think we were doing things we wouldn't normally do. Trying to do too much with one swing rather than taking our normal approach where we try to put base hits together, move runners around and be productive."

After each team was retired in order in the seventh, the game went to extras.

The Sentinels were retired in order to open the eighth, then the Campers quickly picked up two outs in the bottom half.

Kane Williams drew a full count and looked at a pitch below the knees for ball four.

Fort Hill's fans were livid at the call, believing it was at the knees, as Williams jogged to first.

Williams stole second and on the next pitch, Sneathen hit a fly ball down the right-field line.

It dropped in for a hit, scoring Williams to win the game.

While Sneathen was the only Camper with two hits, Irons wasn't pleased with his day at the plate leading into the final trip.

"Joe had a terrible day up until then," Irons said. "But he left that behind him, he went in and focused on what we teach all the time, staying back and driving through the right side. He did exactly that, it was a beautiful at-bat."

The story of the game was the pitching on both sides.

For Allegany, Caden Long went five innings, allowing four hits, two runs and two walks with a pair of strikeouts.

He retired the side in order in two of the five innings he completed and stranded three of the four runners.

Bryce Madden went three shutout innings without a hit or a walk and five punchouts.

Madden entered with two on in the sixth and retired the next three batters.

He then struck out the side in order in the seventh to send the game into extras, then sat Fort Hill down 1-2-3 in the eighth.

"Caden did everything he could to help us win that baseball game," Irons said. "Caden and Bryce did what seniors do in big moments. They went out and pitched extremely well. Caden did a great job getting us to that point. Then Bryce came in and did exactly what we needed him to do. He put all the pressure on them, he attacked hitters, he trusted our defense."

For Fort Hill, Brauer went six innings, allowing four hits, two unearned runs and four walks with two strikeouts.

He forced a lot of soft contact and stranded 6 of the 10 runners on base.

"I think statistically, Bobby was our best pitcher all year," Brode said. "That says a lot about a freshman. We're excited to see where he'll take us in the next couple years. Today, he wanted this game, we wanted to give it to him, I think all the guys wanted to give it to him. Just the performance he had was pretty solid."

Carson Bender went 1 2/3 innings, allowing a hit, a run and a walk.

Fort Hill's season came to an end but showed clear signs of progression.

After finishing 2-14 last season, the Sentinels went 9-10 and picked up their first conference wins and playoff victory since 2019.

"Our guys are fighters, they're also a bunch of winners," Brode said. "A lot of them play football and were on the state championship team. They're just competitors through and through. That was one thing we really wanted to do, challenge Allegany till the end. That's what we did today."

Allegany advances to the Region Final on Tuesday against No. 3 seed Northern at the Hot Stove Complex.

The Huskies (11-7) beat No. 2 seed Southern (11-9) in the other quarterfinal on Saturday 8-2.

In the two regular season matchups, the Campers won 2-1 and 16-5.