CLYMER - Ryan Robson's left arm isn't made of rubber, and it's not bionic; nor is it completely mechanical - at least it doesn't appear so to an observer.
It is, however, something special.
Robson, who has thrown 30 innings over the past eight days and whose stamina seemingly knows no bounds, was on the hill yet again on Wednesday afternoon, baffling top-seeded Clymer and leading the underdog Sherman Wildcats to a 3-2 Section 6 Class D quarterfinal victory.
Above, from the left, Ryan Robson, Jake Ames, Jeremy Cole and Travis Henry celebrate the Sherman Wildcats’ Section 6 Class D quarterfinal baseball victory over Clymer on Wednesday. See additional photos of the Sherman-Clymer game at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Rob Tucker
The win was the fifth straight for the ninth-seeded Wildcats (7-8) - also the fifth straight for Robson - and propelled the Ty Harper-led squad into the sectional semifinals for the first time since the 1980s.
That semifinal game is slated for Friday against host Brocton, a No. 4 seed that was an 8-3 winner over Ripley in the other Class D quarterfinal battle.
"Honestly, I couldn't be any prouder of our guys," Harper, a first-year head coach, said. "The kids really persevered today, they did everything that they had to do to keep fighting and they didn't get down when things didn't go their way. This is a team that's won five games in a row now, and they're just playing great ball."
It starts with the squad's 6-foot southpaw.
Robson, who last week denied the Pirates an outright Division 4 title when he tossed four innings of no-hit ball, held Clymer to two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks on the way to picking up the postseason victory. He surrendered solitary runs in the first and third frames, but from the fourth inning on put zeroes on the scoreboard and allowed only two hits.
"Everything was working out there for him," Harper said.
Most impressive about the finish, at least to Harper, is that he looked just as strong at the end of the contest on this his fifth game in eight days as he did at the start of the run on May 14.
"He's strong," Harper said with a smile. "He's a workhorse that throws hard and he's got a good breaking ball. The thing with him, and I've seen it throughout the year, is that he has a tendency to get better as the game goes on.
"We've gotten some really great pitching from Ryan."
And on Wednesday, they got some great hitting, too.
Knotted at a run apiece heading into the fifth inning, Sherman's ninth-hitter, Kyle Carpenter, hit a bloop single to right field. A near double play followed as Ryan Myers hit a soft grounder to second. Myers beat the throw at first, but Peterson was called out at second, despite the fact that an animated Harper, and a vocal contingent of Wildcats' fans, contended that the Clymer shortstop never touched the bag.
The call, at least in Harper's estimation, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise, for the indignant Wildcats answered with a single by Jake Ames - putting runners on first and third - and then what would be the game-winning two-run double down the right field line by Travis Henry, putting Sherman ahead for good, 3-2.
"It happens," Harper said of what he perceived as an incorrect call. "But I think it got them going a little bit because we scored right after."
That the crucial hit came from Henry, however, was not a surprise to his coach.
"Travis has been really clutch for us," Harper said, "just so clutch. The last few games he's been on fire."
Clymer twice attempted to mount a comeback, putting runners in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings, but each time Robson, and the defense behind him, held.
"We've been playing really well as a group down the stretch," Harper said.
And he believes it can continue.
"Absolutely," he said. "We've got good, tough kids at Sherman. They don't quit. The kids are super respectful, they work hard all the time and they're always looking to keep their nose to the grindstone."
NOTES: Along with Henry, Jake Ames recorded an RBI when he singled in Carpenter in the third inning to tie the game at 1-1. ... Jeremy Cole (double) was the lone Wildcat to record two hits. ... Leading Clymer at the plate were Austin Crosby and Mitch Einink, who each had a hit and an RBI. ... Despite a solid effort, right-hander Austin Cramer took the loss, walking three and surrendering seven hits over seven innings of work.