The Rangers' 2019 playoff run came to an end in the semifinals at AIA in Xenia on September 7. The Rangers fought hard and had both games in their grasp, but eventually fell victim to late-inning heroics by the top-seeded Slammers.
In game one, the Rangers jumped on Slammers' ace Jeff Beall for two runs in the top of the first inning. After a one-out walk to Rob Pederson, Ben Schooler singled to put runners on the corners. Markus Neff then blooped one into right field to plate Pederson with the first run. Kyle Moyer then beat out a potential double-play ball that allowed Schooler to score.
In the bottom of the second, Sean Phillips singled home Rick Anderson, and Brian Whaley followed with a sac fly to tie the game at 2-2. The Slammers took the lead on a two-out RBI double from Whaley. The Slammers added another run in the fifth on an RBI double from Garrett Wissman.
The Rangers battled back to score twice more in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Markus Neff and Jonmarc Lippincott were hit by pitches. After a pair of strike outs, Chris Ridl laced a single to load the bases. Brandon Saylor then roped a two-run single to right-center to score the tying runs.
The Rangers loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh, but Beall was able to record a strike out and a fly out to thwart a Rangers' rally.
In the bottom of the seventh, Todd Barhorst led off with a single and went to third on Anderson's double. After intentionally walking Wissman to load the bases, Mark Barhorst lofted a ball to left field for the walk-off sacrifice fly.
The Rangers once again drew first blood, scoring in the bottom of the first inning in game two. Nick Gilmore led off with a single and stole second. Two batters later, Neff doubled him home.
The Slammers countered with a run of their own in the top of the second as Phillips' ground out to shortstop allowed Wissman to score.
Saylor drilled an RBI triple to the gap in the bottom of the second to score Chris Ridl and give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. But the Slammers answered again in the top of the third after Dan Barhorst scored from third base with two outs on a wild pitch.
The Rangers regained the lead off starter Mark Hadaya in the bottom of the fifth as Neff doubled to deep left field to score Pederson.
The 3-2 advantage was short-lived however, as the Slammers put the first four runners aboard without a ball leaving the infield. Dan Barhorst then had the brutal blow with a two-run single through a drawn-in infield. Deane Grandfield's single added to the final tally, giving the Slammers a 6-3 lead.
The Rangers could muster little offense over the final two innings as Beall replaced Hadaya, allowing just one hit in the sixth, and retiring the side in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Ben Schooler and Joe Becker were the hard-luck losing pitchers on the day, providing outstanding mound efforts against a team that averaged 9.7 runs per game this year.
Slammers 5, Rangers 4,
Slammers 6, Rangers 3,
Offensive highlights: Rob Pederson 3-for-6, 2 runs, 2 walks; Ben Schooler 3-for-7, run; Markus Neff 4-for-6, run, 3 RBIs, 3 doubles; Chris Ridl 3-for-6, run; Brandon Saylor 2-for-6, triple, 3 RBIs
Historical Notes: Rangers all-time playoff record stands at 54-43