The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


April 29, 2012

Double trouble

Dragons, Spartans split twinbill

CONNEAUT — The Lakeside Dragons came into Skippon Field in Conneaut on Saturday afternoon and took the first game with a decisive victory 7-1 over the Conneaut Spartans.

After a scoreless first inning of play Lakeside’s offensive heated up in the second inning. Alex DeCamillo walked and Khalil Chatham singled, setting up Frank Clayman, who drove them both in with a huge two-run double to break open the game, 2-0.

Lakeside added one more in the third after Dwight Thompson and Jereme Smith both singled, and Austin Beal drove in one run on a deep sacrifice flyt, giving the Dragons a 3-0 lead through three. Jereme Smith went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, two RBI, and a run scored.

The Spartans, who stranded four runners over the second and third innings, finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth after both Derek Frazee and Cody Martin walked, Michael Mirando plated a run on a sacrifice groundout.

The rest of the game was all Lakeside though. In the top of the fifth inning Jereme Smith smacked a two-run double  to score Dwight Thompson and Nick Meola.

The Dragons added a pair of runs in the seventh when Alex DeCamillo scored on a single, and Khalil Chatham added one more run with a double, giving Lakeside a 7-1 lead.

“We got the hits we needed, (but) we’ve hit better,” Lakeside coach Andy Kiphart said.

Austin DiBell tossed six solid innings for the Dragons, giving up just one run and striking out five. He worked out of jams in the second, third and sixth, stranding two runners in each inning.

“He did a tremendous day on the mound,” Kiphart said. “(He) displayed mental toughness, didn’t carry over to the next pitch.

“(I) had to make some adjustments on the mound, I trust my defense (though),” DiBell said.

“Their pitcher did a good job, mixing up speeds,” Conneaut coach Walker Graher said. “(We were) not patient.

“We did make a couple of good plays.”

The Spartans displayed better patience in the second game, allowing them to put nine runs on the board in a 9-4 win over the Dragons.

The Spartans (6-6) struck first scoring on a wild pitch to take a 1-0 lead, but it was a monstrous second inning that saw Conneaut’s offense go from ho-hum, to hooray.

With two outs Cody Martin singled then Michael Mirando singled him IN. Troy Calucci ripped an RBI double to bring in Mirando, and Dylan Morici helped his own cause and connected on his own RBI double. Jared Walker brought in another run on a Lakeside erros and Joey Borgerding walked.

That set up shortstop Christian Williams to hit a run-scoring single, and so did Justin Blood. All in all, the second inning saw the Spartans score sixruns, giving them an comfortable 7-0 lead after two innings.

“I think we were more patient,” Graher said. “Hitting can be contagious, (it) raised our confidence. (We wanted to) jump on them early.”

Cody Martin helped his team’s offensive surge as he went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, a double and a run score for the Spartans.

“I was focused more in the game,” Martin said. “Just stay in and wait for strikes, sit on the ball, and drive it.”

Lakeside (8-10, 2-6) finally answered in the top of the third inning as both Austin Beal and Jared Zeman drove in a run each, giving Lakeside its first runs of the game, and knocking the lead down to 7-2 through 3.    

Conneaut knocked in two more runs in the bottom of the fourth, as Martin connected on a two-run double to the outfield to give Conneaut a seven-run cushion.

“There’s no excuse,” Kiphart said. “We’re flat, gotta get up. We slept walk through the first three or four innings.”

The fifth inning seemed like it could be the breakout inning for Lakeside, as Nick Meola connected on one of his two doubles of the game, Austin Beal singled, and Shawn Gilbert plated Meola.

Jared Zeman walked, but then Conneaut starting pitcher Dylan Morici struck out two in a row, and got the last out on a deep flyout, only giving up 1 run to Lakeside’s rally.

Morici threw a complete game, striking out 5.

Velotta is a freelance writer from Concord.

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