Jackson (23-5) denied Mentor (17-8) of a steal of home plate in the seventh inning to preserve a 3-2 win Thursday night in a Division I regional semifinal baseball game at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium.
Jackson senior left-hander Tim Turner earned his first save by getting the final two outs, which included tossing out sophomore Andrew Valeri attempting to steal home on a double-steal with one out where junior Tyler Thompson went from first to second.
“Hudson beat us on that earlier in the season, so we worked on it a little bit,” Turner said. “I just saw my first baseman [senior Brennan Dingler] pointing at home and I kept my composure and got the ball down to [senior catcher AJ Kloehn] who put the tag on him.
“It was a huge risk. It was shocking.”
Jackson will play Hudson in a regional final at 5 p.m. Friday at Munson.
Mentor coach Len Taylor praised Turner for his efforts.
“The kid did a good job as he stepped off the back of that rubber,” Taylor said. “That kind of sets things up, but we were double stealing on that. We were gonna steal home and if he throws home without stepping off that rubber we are suicide [squeeze] bunting. He did a good job. Emotions were high. I pulled off the same play in the 2007 state final and I pulled it off in the 2004 state final. I have won two, but that time I lost. It’s all a gamble. The way we were hitting, those pop-ups were not helping us.”
Mentor led 1-0 in the second when senior Kyle Hagey singled in senior Trevor Boslett.
Jackson tied it 1-1 in the third when senior Seth Vellucci singled in senior Kyle Mottice. The Bears took the lead in the fourth following singles by senior Jake Sima, Dingler and Mottice. Senior Mitch Aman scored on Mottice’s single and Dingler scored on a balk.
“We have got to come back tomorrow, play the same way we did today and come out strong,” Mottice said. “We are excited now, but we have to come ready to play.”
Jackson sophomore Sam Miller (7-0) pitched 6 1/3 innings and got the win.
Mentor added a run in the fourth after senior Caleb Potter scored on a ground out by senior Nick Fillar.
“Things didn’t go perfect for our guys, but you noticed they didn’t panic,” Jackson coach Bill Gamble said. “That shows guys have been in those situations before and it shows the senior leadership. They tried a first and third situation, which has been successful on us before, and we defended it right. We got the ball in the right guys hands when it mattered.
“We work first and third and bunt situations all the time in practice.”