CINCINNATI — Fort Loramie took an early lead but got a battle the rest of the way from Lancaster Fairfield Christian in a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Cincinnati Princeton High School.
The Redskins held on, though, to earn a 5-3 win and advance to a regional final for the second consecutive season.
Fort Loramie (24-6) advances to face Shelby County Athletic League rival Russia in a regional final for the second consecutive season. The Redskins beat the Raiders 7-1 in a regional final last year.
The squads split SCAL games in regular season last year. The Raiders won the first matchup Russia 5-2 in an SCAL game on its home field on April 12. The Redskins won 4-1 on their home field on April 21.
The Redskins took control quickly on Thursday. They scored one run in the first and three in the second.
Evan Eilerman hit a one-out single on a line-drive to center field in the first, then Karson Tennery followed with a ground-ball single to left field.
Isaac Raterman struck out for the second out, but Taran Fleckenstein hit a single to left to drive in one run and put the Redskins ahead 1-0.
Logan Eilerman drew a walk to start the Redskins in the bottom of the second. With one out, Owen Pleiman hit a bunt single, then Meyer hit a bunt single along the third-base line.
Evan Eilerman then followed with a line-drive single to center that drove in two runs, then Tennery hit a ground ball and reached on an error. Meyer scored on the error to push the advantage to 4-0.
But Fort Loramie didn’t score again until the sixth, and Fairfield Christian stayed in it despite not hitting much.
The Knights scored one run in the fourth. Ruhenkamp walked two batters, then the bases were loaded after an error. Schmitz drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to cut the gap to 4-1.
Fairfield Christian scored another run in the fifth. Ruhenkamp walked the first batter of the inning and was then replaced by Meyer, who struck out one batter, then gave up a walk.
After a ground out, Andrew Keener hit an RBI single — the Knights’ first hit of the game — to cut the gap to 4-2.
Fairfield Christian pitcher Jimmie Schmitz walked in a run in the sixth to give Fort Loramie a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh.
Ruhenkamp was brought back in to pitch in the sixth and retired the Knights in order. He retired the first two batters in the seventh, but the Knights made it interesting late.
Ruhenkamp walked a batter, then Matthew Keener hit a double to center to drive in one run.
Andrew Keener drew a walk, but Ruhenkamp coaxed a fly out to center field to end it and strand the potential tying runs.
Ruhenkamp pitched six innings and gave up two earned runs on one hit and six walks while striking out 10 batters. Meyer pitched one inning and gave up one hit and one walk while striking out two batters.
Fort Loramie finished with seven hits and committed one error. The Knights finished with two hits and committed two errors.
Evan Eilerman finished 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs and one walk. Owen Pleiman was 2 for 2 with one walk.
Fairfield Christian finishes 14-12 overall.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.