Indianapolis — In yet another one-run ball game, the Lebanon Merchants advanced to the Midwest Prospects League title game with a 7-6 victory against the Indy Braves.
It was the fourth-straight win and fifth game overall for the Merchants to be settled by one run.
Lebanon scored single runs in the first, second, third and fourth innings to take a 4-1 lead.
They nearly added to the lead in the fifth, but Ty Foster was thrown out at home to end the inning.
The Braves scored three times in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game and neither team scored in the sixth.
Lebanon couldn’t have asked for a better start in the seventh, drawing two walks on nine pitches.
“We had our guys taking a pitch to get a strike and you typically do that in the final inning of a close game,” Lebanon manager Ron Ebert said. “We really wanted to beat these guys straight up.”
Two batters later, Brandon Dale singled to load the bases.
Ryan McPike reclaimed the lead for the Merchants with a 2-run double, then Derek White singled home another run to make it 7-4.
“We have done that this whole tournament,” Ebert said of the clutch hitting. “The first game we only had six hits, but the ones we got we stuck really well. Last night (a 12-11 win against Bedford) we hit the ball well and we did that today too. We had some walks and we were able to score them in bunches. And again it came down to the last out.”
The Merchants ran into problems in the bottom of the seventh. Indy loaded the bases with two singles off starter Tyler Koon and a walk by reliever Brad Rist.
After a line out, Rist gave up a walk and a single to make the score 7-6.