JACKSON, Ohio — The celebration will have to wait.
The Gallia Academy baseball team had hoped to clinch its fourth straight league championship Monday night, but host Jackson spoiled the party while keeping its own Southeastern Ohio Athletic League title hopes alive following an 8-7 victory at Haller Field in Jackson County.
The Blue Devils (10-3, 6-1 SEOAL) never led and committed both errors in the contest, as the Ironmen (9-2, 4-1) outhit the guests by a 10-8 overall margin. JHS stormed out to a 5-0 lead through three complete, but Gallia Academy responded with a five-run fourth to knot things up.
Jackson countered with a run in the fourth and added two more scores in the fifth to reclaim an 8-5 edge, but GAHS retaliated with two runs in the sixth to pull to within a run at 8-7 through six complete.
The Blue Devils started the seventh with a leadoff single from Anthony Sipple, who eventually advanced to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball — putting the tying run 90 feet away with nobody out in the inning.
Jackson reliever Austin Leach got Kole Carter on strikes for the first out of the inning, then Leach made a pickoff throw to third base that caught Sipple in a rundown for the second out of the inning. Sipple was headed home on a suicide squeeze attempt by 8-hole hitter Matt Bailey, but the pitch was ultimately never made plateward.
Bailey followed by popping out to second base, allowing Jackson to claim the win and also keep its slim title hopes alive. The Ironmen also avenged a 4-1 setback at GAHS back on April 9.
Gustin Graham suffered the loss for the Blue Devils after surrendering eight runs (six earned), 10 hits and zero walks over 5.1 innings while striking out five. Hunter Sexton picked up the win after allowing five runs, seven hits and four walks over five innings while fanning seven.
Sipple led the guests with three hits, followed by Gage Childers with two safeties. Graham, Carter and Eric Sheets also added a hit apiece in the setback. Childers drove in a team-best three RBIs and Sheets added two RBIs, while Ty Warnimont scored twice after being walked and hit by a pitch.
Sexton paced Jackson with three hits, followed by Tyler Neal and Tyler Spriggs with two safeties apiece. Nathan Parks had a two-run homer in the third and drove in a team-best two RBIs. Parks, Sexton and Spriggs also scored twice in the triumph.
GAHS had won eight straight league games dating back to last season’s three-peat and had previously defeated Jackson in its last five contests. The Ironmen have now won five straight decision overall.
Gallia Academy can clinch a share of the league crown Friday when it hosts Portsmouth in the SEOAL finale. Jackson will be at Logan Friday and also has a pair with Warren the following week. The Ironmen — if the Devils defeat PHS Friday — must win out to also earn a share of the SEOAL crown.