TALLMADGE -- Blue Devils head baseball coach Kenny Linn knows records are immaterial when it comes to the postseason.
"When you come to this time of the year, every win you get is a tough one," he said. "If guys care, they're going to give their best against you."
Proof of that came May 9 when Tallmadge hosted Canton South in a Division II sectional final at Dave Young Field. The Wildcats made the Blue Devils earn it, but Tallmadge was able to pull out a 3-2 win to advance to district play.
Prior to the playoff game, the Blue Devils scored a 7-4 win over Akron Archbishop Hoban May 8 at Dave Young Field. Tallmadge also 6-4 to Hudson May 10 at The Ballpark at Hudson.
The Blue Devils' record was 18-6 as of press time.
Against Canton South, Tallmadge starting right-hander Zach Boyd was his usual steady self, but Boyd left the game with a 2-1 deficit. He pitched 4-2/3 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) off four hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
"It's a goofy game," Linn said, noting three of the four hits Boyd gave up were infield singles. "He was throwing well for the most part. Things just weren't falling for him."
Reliever Mikah McGlaughlin (3-1) picked up the win, allowing just one hit in 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
"He's been on a roll for us," Linn said. "We had Scotty [Seeker] ready just in case, but Mikah did a great job."
The Blue Devils jumped out a to 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Phil Glasser walked, right fielder Seth Gergely doubled and Boyd hit a run-scoring ground out.
After that, Tallmadge struggled a bit against South starter JC Phillip. The Wildcats' ace gave up three earned runs off three hits and four walks in five innings of work.
Canton South tied the game in the third inning with an infield single, a walk and an error to load the bases. Third baseman Robbie Akers then hit an run-scoring fielder's choice to tie the game at 1-1.
In the top of the fifth, the Wildcats took the lead. A single by Phillip and two wild pitches was followed by a run-scoring double from Akers to make it 2-1.
McGlaughlin relieved Boyd and struck out Canton South first baseman Dalton Frey to end the inning.
The Blue Devils then responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
With one out, left fielder Sam Seeker walked, catcher Richie Eyre was hit by a pitch and the runners moved up on a wild pitch.
Glasser then hit a sacrifice fly to left to tie the game. Gergely followed with a run-scoring double just beyond the reach of the left fielder to make it 3-2.
The Wildcats had a chance to tie it in the seventh when Riley James led off with a double.
However, McGlaughlin struck out catcher Jeff Lutz, got Phillip to ground back to the mound and had Akers pop out at first base to end the game.
Against Hoban, Josh Taylor pitched 6-2/3 innings to get the win and McGlaughlin got the final out to get the save.
Taylor also had two hits, including a double, and two runs scored.
Gergely led the Blue Devils' offense with two singles, a double, a run batted in and a run scored.
Boyd had two hits, including a double, two RBIs and a run scored and Sam Seeker had two doubles and two RBIs.
In the game against Hudson, Tallmadge jumped out 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
After a lead-off walk to Glasser, the Blue Devils got back-to-back RBI doubles from Boyd and Scott Seeker to make it 2-0.
However, Hudson took the lead with a run in the first and three in the third inning.
Blue Devils' starter Jared Burick lasted three innings, giving up four earned runs on four hits with five walks. However, Tallmadge came back with two runs in the top of the fifth.
Singles by Luke Thomas and Glasser were followed by an RBI fielder's choice by Sam Seeker.
After Boyd walked, starter Stephen Bianconi was replaced by Aiden "Chief" Samuel, but Tallmadge tied the game at 4-4 when Scott Seeker hit a sacrifice fly.
Hudson regained the lead by drawing four straight walks off three different Tallmadge pitchers in the bottom of the fifth, followed by a run-scoring single from Johnny Merrill to make it 6-4.
The Blue Devils escaped the inning with no further damage thanks to an unassisted double play by Glasser.
Sam Seeker took the loss in relief for the Devils.
"We got better even though we lost," Linn said.
Tallmadge was scheduled to host close out the regular season May 13 with a home date against Massillon Perry. Results of those games were not available at press time.
The Blue Devils are set to play Akron Springfield in a Division II district semifinal game at Canal Park in Akron after Springfield upset Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 3-1 May 9. The semifinal is scheduled to take place May 17 a 7 p.m.
If victorious, Tallmadge is set to play in the Division II district final May 18 at Canal Park. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.