Southern Ohio Copperheads

Southern Ohio’s Zach Iverson pitches during a game against Xenia on July 12. Iverson pitched six innings on Sunday in the Copperheads’ 8-6 win over the Richmond Jazz.

Sebastian Fabik’s heroics kept the Southern Ohio Copperheads’ playoff dreams alive.

Fabik launched a two-run, game-winning home run on Sunday to help Southern Ohio win at the Richmond Jazz, 8-6.

The game was tied at 6-6 when Fabik hit a two-out, two-run home run.

The win moved Southern Ohio to 22-17 on the season, as it tries to chase down a postseason bid in the season’s final days.

The Copperheads entered Monday’s play just a half-game out of the final playoff spot in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League South Division.

Licking County defeated Cincinnati on Sunday, 8-4. As a result, Licking County led the South Division after Sunday’s games at 24-16, while Cincinnati was 23-17.

Hamilton, a 4-2 winner over Xenia, was fourth at 20-18.

The top two teams in the division will qualify for the postseason.

Southern Ohio was scheduled to play Richmond again on Monday and Tuesday to conclude the regular season. Licking County and Cincinnati will also play two more games.

The Copperheads controlled their own destiny, as two more wins would vault them ahead of either Licking County or Cincinnati regardless of whether the two teams split the final games or one sweeps the other. However, Southern Ohio would not be able to win the division, as it could not pass up both teams in the standings.

Southern Ohio entered play on Monday with a solid chance to make the playoffs after rallying past the last-place Jazz (14-25).

Richmond led 4-0 after four innings, getting two runs in each the third and fourth innings off Southern Ohio starter Zach Iverson. Iverson has led Southern Ohio’s pitching staff all season, and made his first start since July 12.

Iverson was charged with five earned runs in six innings, lifting his ERA to 1.51. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter, surrendering nine hits.

The Copperheads tied the game at 4-4 with a four-run fifth inning. Lucas Nasonti lifted a sacrifice fly to score Phillip Glasser for the first run.

With two out, Jared Heard came through with a three-run home run to tie the game. His third homer of the season scored Tanner Johnson and Kyle Gammon.

Richmond didn’t go easily however, as it went back ahead 5-4 after Austin Hatfield’s RBI single in the sixth inning.

The Copperheads scored twice in the top of the eighth for their first lead of the night. Johnson’s double tied the game at 5-5, and Gammon’s double scored Johnson for a 6-5 advantage.

Richmond would tie the game back up with a run in the bottom of the eighth.

That set the stage for Fabik.

Heard reached with a one-out walk, but Daniel Cruz hit a fly ball to right for the second out.

Fabik then took Richmond’s Joey Gerbus deep for his fourth home run of the season, and Southern Ohio led 8-6.

Carter Cross pitched the ninth for his first save of the season, but it wasn’t without drama.

Cross hit Jake Burlingame with a pitch, and Ryan Wickman followed with a single. Both moved up on a passed ball, and Richmond had runners on second and third with no outs.

Cross recovered, getting Mike Steffan to hit a ground ball to shortstop Phillip Glasser for the first out.

Hunter Nabors then hit a grounder to Tanner Glass at first base for the second out, forcing the runners to hold.

Cross ended the game by getting Eric Roberts to strikeout swinging.

Johnson, who was behind the plate, dropped the third strike but threw down to first to complete the win.

Southern Ohio kept its playoff hopes alive on Saturday with an 11-5 win over Licking County in the regular season home finale at Bob Wren Stadium.

Southern Ohio scored three runs in each the third and sixth innings to lead 6-2. The Settlers scored three in the seventh to pull to within a run, but the Copperheads iced the game with five in the eighth.

Jack Bennett got the pitching win thanks to six innings of work. He allowed two earned runs on two walks and seven hits. He struck out seven.

Jacob Ladley pitched the final three innings for his first save of the season, allowing three runs on four hits.

Southern Ohio finished with seven hits, taking advantage of 12 walks issued by Licking County’s pitching staff. The Settlers also had two errors in the field, leading to three unearned runs.

Nasonti was 3 for 5 with a run and two RBIs for Southern Ohio. Glasser had two hits and two RBIs.

Email at kwiseman@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @KevinWmessenger

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