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Ayden Hall lives out dream, scores walk-off run as Sylvania Northview beats Kenston 3-2 in OHSAA baseball Division 1 state semifinal

“When I got there safe, I was in tears. I was so happy. There are so many high emotions right now. That was so cool."
Sylvania Northview baseball Ayden Hall Ryan Isley

AKRON, Ohio – Kids grow up dreaming of scoring the winning run in a big baseball game. Ayden Hall of Sylvania Northview got to live out that dream in a 3-2 win over Kenston in the OHSAA Division I state semifinals Friday morning.

With the game tied 2-2, Northview had the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs and Brodey Acres at the plate. On the first pitch to Acres, Kenston pitcher Jake Vasil delivered low, and the ball got through the legs of the catcher.

Hall, who had entered the game as a pinch runner, took off from third and scored on the wild pitch to win the game and send the Wildcats to the Division I state championship game.

“We got bases loaded and we knew there was a chance we were going to score,” Hall said. “Ball got through, I scored, and now we’re going to the championship.”

Sylvania head coach Greg Szparka had a perfect view of the play from the third base coach’s box and had one word for Hall as the ball got through.

“I’m just going ‘go,’” Szparka said. “We like to put pressure on and be aggressive. He’s a fast kid, and that’s why he is our pinch runner. He did a tremendous job. He made a great read and took off.”

The Wildcats started the inning off by Alex Prymas reaching on an error. He then moved to second on a bunt single by Garrett Draper, with Hall coming in to run for Draper. Braden Tackett followed with a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over.

“We executed the little things and took advantage of mistakes they made,” Szparka said. “That’s what happens in big-time games.”

After Prymas was thrown out trying to score on a grounder to short by Benny Seals, Kenston intentionally walked Riley Ames to load the bases after Ames had two of Northview’s five hits in the game.

That set the stage for Hall’s heroics.

“That’s honestly something you dream about as a kid,” Hall said. “It’s not as cool as a home run, but it is still a winning run.”

Garrett Zimmerman did the job on the mound for Northview, allowing just two runs (one earned) on two hits.

“I didn’t have my best stuff, but I was able to keep them off balance enough to where we could get ahead,” Zimmerman said. “I knew we were going to get it eventually. All I had to do was keep it locked in and rely on my teammates.”

One of those teammates was Hall, who could not contain his excitement after the game.

“Oh man, I was hoping it would happen,” Hall said. “When I got there safe, I was in tears. I was so happy. There are so many high emotions right now. That was so cool.”