The Lemont Ducks forced a third and deciding game in their opening-round playoff series against the Howard Hawks with a 5-3 win Tuesday evening at Spring Creek Park.
The best-of-three series is tied 1-1, with the deciding game set for 6 p.m. Thursday in Howard.
A three-run fourth inning proved to be the difference for the No. 6-seeded Ducks, with Ben Ripka cracking a two-run double, then circling around to score on a balk and passed ball.
Zach Williams scored the Ducks’ first run, knocked in by Tyler Yazujian in the first inning, then Williams’ sacrifice fly scored Cameron Aungst in the third.
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Howard got its first run on a Kyle Womer RBI single, then tried to rally in the top of the seventh with doubles from Kyle and Dylan Womer to plate two runs, but could pull no closer.
Zach Smeal earned the win, and Calvin Sichler was 2 for 3 for Lemont. Kyle Womer and Evan Gettig each had a pair of hits and Phil Holter took the loss for the Hawks, who also committed five errors.