HUDSON: Tallmadge coach Kenny Linn and junior Seth Gergely exchanged the nod Friday afternoon at the Ball Park at Hudson.

That cue in the top of the seventh inning helped propel Tallmadge to a 3-1 victory over Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in a Division II regional semifinal game.

Tallmadge (22-7) will meet Canfield, a 2-0 winner over Chagrin Falls in Fridays second semifinal, in a regional final at noon Saturday.

The Blue Devils scored two runs in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie and move to within one win of the state tournament.

Sophomore Sam Seeker led off the inning with an infield single, and sophomore Rich Eyre put down a sacrifice bunt to advance Seeker to second base. Junior Phillip Glasser followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners, and Gergely then laid down a perfect bunt single to score Seeker.

I was standing in the on-deck circle and I knew it was coming, Gergely said. I felt it was coming after the sixth inning when [junior relief pitcher] Mikah [McGlaughlin] got us out of that situation in the field.

We established in practice a few days ago that if you give me the nod, a play is going down. So I gave coach the nod and he gave me the nod back. I tried to play the bunt hard between the third baseman and the pitcher and it happened that way.

Junior Zach Boyd, who pitched the first 5? innings, capped the scoring in the seventh with a line single to center field that brought in Glasser.

McGlaughlin earned the win in relief.

That inning was so fun, Boyd said. Once we got one guy on with Sammys single, I knew we were going to bunt him over and then work on small ball to score at least one run. ... I feel so excited and humbled that this team is able to get to a regional final.

Linn said he encouraged his players to play Blue Devil baseball in the seventh inning after getting out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings when the Lions failed to score after having runners on the corners with two outs.

The regional final appearance is the first for Tallmadge under Linn, who led St. Vincent-St. Mary to a Division III regional final in 1999.

Tallmadge won the Division II state title in 2002 under coach Don Seeker and was a state runner-up in 2001, 2000, 1996 and 1966.

This is our fourth time in a regional semifinal during my time as Tallmadge coach, and this will be the first regional final, Linn said. These kids have bought in, and that is the best win we have this year and it came at the right time.

Linn, a 1992 Archbishop Hoban graduate, is in his 14th season as Tallmadges coach after serving as St. V-Ms coach for five seasons.

The Lions (13-12) took a 1-0 lead in the third when senior Jake Marut hit a single, stole second base and scored on a two-out single up the middle by junior Joe DiMattio.

The Blue Devils countered with a run in the fourth with two outs. Junior Jared Burick worked a walk and then scored when Jake Rensel smacked a triple to right-center field.

That Rensel family has baseball in their blood, Linn said. [Jakes older brother] John is at Eastern Michigan right now trying to help them in the MAC Tournament. Jake is a hard worker who waited his turn to get in the lineup as a junior.

Rensel said he was trying to hit the ball in the gap and get the run in.

The pitchers were outstanding, Linn said. Mikah has been in that role all year, and Zach has been doing that for three years for us. We felt real good about Zach going to the mound today because of mound experience and the opportunities that he has had.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the#ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.