GATES MILLS — The Falcons are Elite for the second time in three seasons.
Hillsdale scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on for a 4-3 win over defending state champ Warren JFK in the Division IV regional semifinals Thursday at Gilmour Academy.
The Falcons (25-4) will play for Tiffin Calvert for the regional crown and a berth in next week’s state tournament at 5 p.m. Friday at Gilmour Academy. Calvert beat Bristol 5-3 in Thursday’s early game.
Hillsdale won the regional championship in 2019 en route to a state runner-up finish.
JFK scored three unearned runs in the top of the first before Hillsdale came to life. The Falcons scored a run in the bottom of the second and added another in the fifth before taking the lead in the sixth.
Braylen Jarvis reached on an error to lead off the inning and moved to second on Max Vesper’s sacrifice bunt before Daniel Painter doubled in Jarvis to tie the score at 3-3. Kandel followed with a single to plate Painter with what proved to be the game-winning run.
Kandel took care of the rest in the top of the seventh. He induced a popout to lead off the inning before striking out the final two batters he faced to preserve the win. The junior left-hander went the distance, scattering four hits while striking out seven and walking one.
Kandel helped his own cause with two hits, including a double. Ethan Goodwin singled and knocked in a run while Jarvis scored twice.