Martins’ 8th-inning comeback trips Irish in Game 1 of region series

Ethan Hurn

MILROY — The Fairmont Martins are gradually becoming masters of winning low-scoring, narrow-margin playoff games.

Ethan Hurn drilled the go-ahead two-run triple in the top of the eighth inning to erase Fairmont’s one-run deficit to the Milroy Irish on Wednesday night at Irish Yard.

Hurn’s eventual game-winning extra-base blast, combined with solid pitching performances from starter Josh Smith and closer Adam Schmidt, powered the No. 4-seeded Martins to a 5-4 triumph over the No. 1-seeded Irish during the opener of their best-of-3 regional amateur baseball series.

Fairmont (22-5) plays host to Milroy in Game 2 of the Region 13C semifinal series at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.

Trailing 4-3, Lance Becker led off the Martins’ eighth at-bat by drawing a walk before advancing 90 feet on Spencer Chirpich’s ensuing single. Levi Becker then put runners on the corners when he reached on a fielder’s choice that erased Chirpich on the base paths.

Hurn then smacked a two-strike offering for triple to center field to bring home both Lance Becker and Levi Becker for a 5-4 advantage.

Schmidt then hurled two shutout innings of relief to earn the save. The veteran right-hander struck out three, walked one and allowed one hit.

Fairmont starting pitcher Josh Smith recorded nine strikeouts, issued only one walk and gave up four runs on five hits in seven innings of work to net the victory.

Chirpich, Schmidt and Lance Becker each generated two hits for the Martins, Blake Crawmer and Christian Petschke each contributed an RBI single, while Jordan Wolter chipped in a single.

Brady Lanoue hammered a solo home run and a pair of doubles to pace Milroy’s offensive effort.

In the other Region 13C semifinal series, the No. 6-seeded Hadley Buttermakers edged the No. 2-seeded Luverne Redbirds, 6-5, in Game 1 on Wednesday night in Luverne.

The Buttermakers play host to the Redbirds in Game 2 of the playoff series at 2 p.m. Saturday in Hadley.