ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
Early season baseball in cold conditions typically favors pitchers.
Apparently, no one told the Edgewood Warriors that as they hammered home 21 combined runs in defeating the Grand Valley Mustangs 9-5 and the Ledgemont Redskins 12-1 in a season-opening doubleheader.
“I was happy. Ray (Webker) just said we scored in eight of the 10 innings we played today, that’s pretty impressive,” Edgewood coach Bill Lipps said. “We never went 1-2-3, we strung together some hits. I thought we were pretty good at the plate today.”
Edgewood 9, Grand Valley 5
The Warriors wasted little time jumping on the Mustangs to kick off 2013. After shutting out GV in the top of the first, Andrew Graeb (2-3, 2 RBI) started things off with a single and Connor McLaughlin followed with a walk.
Louie Wisnyai cleared the bases with a double to left giving Edgewood the early 2-0 lead.
“I can’t say much more about how Lou Wisnyai hit the ball today, he hit it really hard,” Lipps said of Wisnyai, who went 4-6 with a double, triple and 5 RBI in the doubleheader. “I thought Graeb played really well and hit the ball hard, too.”
The Mustangs came back strong in the top of the third, though.
Josh Kovats led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a Tim Steed double to left. Nate Wengerd brought Kovats home on a fielder’s choice to short.
An Edgewood error on a pop up to right allowed Wengerd to score and tie the game at 2.
After getting Graeb to fly out to center to start the bottom half of the inning, McLaughlin hit a single to right then the next two batters were hit by pitches.
McLaughlin gave Edgewood the lead by scoring on a past ball then Wisnyai and Tony Magda came home on an error to give the Warriors a 5-2 lead.
“Today it was obviously cold and if you can’t feel your fingers it’s tough to throw a breaking ball,” GV coach Russ Bell said. “But give credit to their guy (Vencill), he seemed to handle it pretty well. We hit a few kids. Obviously we’ve not been outside and this is less than ideal circumstances to start the season.
“With the conditions I might discount some of out mistakes. I’m confident we’ll get them corrected.”
The three-run lead was more than enough for Vencill to work with.
The senior went five innings for Edgewood, fanning nine, allowing three runs on three hits and walking just two.
“Doc (Vencill) has been a starting pitcher for three years, he’s got a lot of moxy,” Lipps said. “He went to Perry last year it was cold and snowing and he gave us five innings. So we kind of expected he’d go out and battle. He’s just a real competitor.
“Considering that the game started at 29 degrees and he had limited feeling in his fingers, I thought he did a great job.”
After GV added a run on a Kyle Orgovan single to left that scored Wengerd, Edgewood responded with RBI doubles by Wisnyai and Tony Magda to extend the lead to 7-3.
Graeb put the game out of reach with a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Devon Mauer and pinch-runner Alex Wisnyai.
“We were pretty good last year, we had some good seniors last year that are gone,” Lipps said. “It’s real simple, these kids are starting to gel being in the gym for a month. We kind of had some guys I didn’t expect to do good things do good things and I’m real glad they did.”
Bell saw his team try to mount a rally in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs on a Warriors error to cut the deficit to four runs, but they could get no closer as Edgewood reliever Dan Joslin got a strikeout to finish the game.
“We’re still trying to figure some things out,” Bell said. “I honestly wasn’t real sure about the outfield lineup until we got here. We’ve got a lot of things to clean up. I think once we get out here and play more we’ll get through this feeling out period and be fine.”
Strikeouts were an issue for the Mustangs as they struck out 11 times, four going down looking.
“Strikeouts were a problem, we struck out too much,” Bell admitted. “We’ve got to put the ball in play. But I don’t expect that to continue. I just told the kids, the biggest thing is that we get better every day and continue to improve.”