The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

May 3, 2012

South rises again

Improving Dragons give Rebels a run for their money, though

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — South pitcher Chad Ludrowsky did his best impression of a gunman from the wild west Wednesday afternoon as he shot down Lakeside, 6-2, with the assist from his defense at Lakeside.

Ludrowsky (3-0) earned tossed seven solid innings, giving up just two runs on five hits and a pair of walks. He also did this in only throwing 96 total pitches

Lakeside (8-12, 2-7 in Premier Athletic Conference) had its chances early, despite Ludrowsky’s efforts. The Dragons were able to connect with the ball, but Ludrowsky’s posse backed up its starter, preventing many Dragons from straying across the plate.

Drew Schaller made a tremendous diving catch in left field to prevent a probable extra-base hit by Jereme Smith for Lakeside and T.J. Lett earned himself a running catch for the third out in inning three on drive from Lakeside’s Frank Clayman, the third also being the first time the Dragons got a hit got a hit and on base.

“It helped me a lot. They made plays, (and) I made strikes,” Ludrowsky said.

“I think Chad did very good on the mound. He hit his spots, controlled the counts,” South coach Steve Norris said.

The Rebels (15-6, 8-2) used four wild pitches, two walks, and a sacrifice groundout by Dan Ellrott to take a 2-0 lead after two innings. Three more wild pitches and two more walks gave the Rebels another run in the third, extending the South lead to 3-0.

The Rebels took advantage of two more walks and two more wild pitches for a run in the top of the fourth, before center fielder Steve Scaccia lined a run-scoring  double giving the Rebels a 4-0 advantage.

Lakeside started to turn it around in the fifth when relief pitcher Smith got three quick outs for his team. He worked 3.2 innings, allowing only one run and striking out three.

The Dragons finally got their offensive boost in the bottom of the sixth. After being held scoreless in just two hits through five, the tides changed.

“Well, our focus hasn’t been who we are playing, don’t look at the name, just play our game and be mentally tough for seven innings,” Lakeside head coach Andy Kiphart said. “(A difference of) night and day. The last time we played South, it was 21-5. We battled for the whole seven innings, playing mentally tough baseball.”

Brandon Gibson connected on a one-out single, his second hit of the day. Two batters later, Nick Meola doubled in Gibson and Smith continued the momentum a run-scoring ground-rule double. The two extra-base hits and two runs gave Lakeside energy and a chance at a comeback, down just 5-2 at the time.

South then turned to what it was doing best and that was fielding flawlessly.

With two outs Andy Beal sent a scorcher up the middle, but Anthony Quintanilla made a great stop and throw for South, getting the Rebels out of the inning.

South added another run in the top of the seventh. Lett, who went 3-for-4 with two runs and a stolen base, singled. Jake Hall followed him up with a single the two stole second and third, respectively. Two batters later, Nick Cirino delivered with a  sacrifice fly, giving South the 6-2 lead.

The bottom of seventh saw Lakeside try to continue its rally. The Dragons, however, were only able to draw a walk, along with three well-hit hit fly balls.

Velotta is a freelance writer from Concord Township

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