The Zanesville Junior Pioneers defeated Chicago Metro 4-3 in a AAABA Tournament semifinal game at Point Stadium on Friday afternoon to earn the franchise’s first trip to the title game.
Caden Mumaw had two hits, including a triple and two RBIs. Matty Lynn recorded the save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Zanesville made its first trip to Johnstown in 1947 and never advanced to the tournament championship game. The franchise’s best finish prior to this year was a tie for fourth place in the standings with a 3-2 record in the 1973 tournament.
Zanesville advanced out of Pool D with a 1-2 record. The Junior Pioneers beat Livonia 4-2 on the second day of pool play and advanced among three teams with a 1-2 mark based on tiebreakers. Zanesville then eliminated defending tournament champion New Orleans with a 4-2 win on Thursday to set up the meeting with Chicago Metro.
The Junior Pioneers defeated each of the past two tournament champs in New Orleans (2015) and Chicago Metro (2014).
Zanesville opened with a 3-2 loss to New Brunswick, a team that went 3-0 in Pool D and fell 6-4 to New York City on the third day. Through the first five games, all of Zanesville’s games were decided by two runs or fewer, win or lose.
The Junior Pioneers will play the winner of Friday night’s semifinal between Johnstown Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors and the Cleveland Blaze. The title game will be played on Saturday at a time to be determined at Point Stadium.