SCORES: No. 4 Russia meets No. 3 Northmor Thursday in regional

Of course, the Russia-Galion Northmor regional semifinal on Thursday at Princeton High School won’t rival the 1961 Yankees versus the 1963 Dodgers.

Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris clubbed 115 homers and drove in 269 runs for hitting-heavy New York. Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale threw 626 innings, struck out 557 batters, and combined to win 44 games for pitching-heavy Los Angeles.

However, the Raiders, 25-4, and the Northmor Golden Knights, 23-6, are much like NY and LA, because, they, too, provide a very interesting contrast in how the two Division IV programs have been so productive this season.

Northmor relies on three right-handers to get the job done on the mound. The Golden Knights score only a little more than five runs per game, but have allowed just over two. Grant Bentley and Trevor Brubaker sport earned run averages of less than 1.1, and Drew Hammond is right behind at 2.1.

Two of the three combined for eight strong innings to limit highly-ranked Mechanicsburg to a single run in Northmor’s district semifinal victory, 2-1. Three Mechanicburg fielding errors enabled Northmor to pull the game out. At the plate, Bentley and Hammond lead the way for the Golden Knights.

Meanwhile, Russia is thumping the ball better than it has all season long. Braylon Cordonnier is hitting .487; Felix Francis, .442; Zeb Schulze .397; Brayden Monnin, .355; and Hayden Quinter, .341. Offensively, there are no weak spots in the lineup. The Raiders are averaging a whopping nine runs per game. The team has plated 86 runs in the last six contests, including 27 total runs versus Piqua and Fort Loramie.

So, something has to give on Thursday, right? Can Northmor cool off Russia? We’ll begin to find out on at 5 p.m. when Northmor throws the first pitch. The online pregame segment is at 4:20 p.m.

SCORES, the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System, also covers the first regional semi between Bradford, 19-9, and Troy Christian, 10-15. Online air time is at 1:20 p.m. for the Railroaders-Eagles clash.

After several days to prep for the round of sixteen, all four clubs should have fresh, live arms ready to throw. Russia’s diverse pitching staff is paced by Cordonnier, Monnin, Jude Counts, and lefty Maddox Goubeaux. Each member of the quartet fashions a different repertoire of pitches to keep opposing hitters off balance. The staff has struck out about a batter per inning. Cordonnier’s ERA is 1.09.

Meanwhile, Bradford buried Troy Christian during the season, 15-4. Figure on a much tighter game this time around.

The Eagles red hot pitching duo of senior Carson Dyer and junior Judah Simmons has won eight of TC’s ten victories this year and has not allowed a run in 21 innings in the postseason.

On paper, Braford is the better of the two teams offensively. Senior Tucker Miller is hitting .591; Garrett Trevino, .410; and Landon Wills, an even .400. Trevino and Miller each posted three-hit games when Bradford closed out Troy Christian in six innings on April 22. TC committed five errors.

Neither club finished in the top three of its league standings. Bradford was fourth in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference; TC, fifth in the Three Rivers Conference.

By the way, Northmor ended the season in third place in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference. Twice, the Golden Knights handled Greenwich South Central, which is still alive in the southeast region. In non-conference tilts, the Golden Knights beat three upper division foes — Marion Pleasant, Marion Harding, and Grove City Central Crossing.

Expect gorgeous, sunny weather for the Thursday-Friday D-IV regional. But don’t expect Mantle or Koufax to trot onto the field.

Instead, talented high school players — who will compete at a high level and offer an exciting and entertaining baseball doubleheader.

The D-IV state tournament is set for Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, at Canal Park in Akron.