The NorthWood baseball team was so close to claiming its first regional title in over three decades Monday night.
The Panthers though could not hold a five-run lead in dropping an 8-7 final to Delta in the championship game of the Class 3-A Bellmont Regional.
NorthWood, which was in the regional for the fourth straight year, nearly pulled it out at the end. The Panthers trailed 8-5 entering their final at-bat before scoring two runs to make it 8-7. The final out of the game came with NorthWood runners on first and third.
The Panthers, who finish the season at 18-9, led 5-0 after scoring four runs in the third inning.
Delta, which improves to 20-8, tied the game at 5-5 on a three-run home run by Mitchell Hahn in the sixth frame. The Eagles then took the lead in the seventh inning on a two-out, two-run single by Nick Bantz. Hahn went 4-5 with four RBI to lead the winners.
Chad Sellers, one of five seniors, led the Panthers with a two-run single. Vincent Herschberger had two hits for NorthWood. Vinny Miranda, who received in the fifth inning, took the pitching loss.
Delta will face Western in a semistate game Saturday at either Plymouth or Kokomo.
Manchester saw its season end with an 11-7 loss to Frankton in nine innings in a semifinal game of the Class 2-A Wabash Regional.