The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

May 4, 2012

Patience pays off for Falcs

Working counts works for Jefferson as it pounds way past Conneaut

CONNEAUT — Patience is an important virtue in any sport, particularly baseball.

Jefferson displayed plenty of patience Thursday at Conneaut as the Falcons drew eight walks, in addition to two hit batters, to help propel them to a 12-2 non-conference win over the rival Spartans.

“I did (like our approach),” Jefferson coach Scott Barber said. “We waited, didn’t swing at bad pitches and made them throw strikes. When the ball was over the plate I thought we hit it hard. Once again we made a lot of loud outs.”

The Falcons (16-5) did the majority of their damage in the third inning.

Holding a 1-0 lead, Chase Stowe, Joey Piscsalko and Andy Santiago all walked to start the inning then Ryan Hayes fought off an inside pitch for a bloop single to right to score Stowe.

Piscsalko scored when Johnny Knight was hit by a pitch then Nick Stranman plated Santiago with a sacrifice fly to right.

Kyle Ashburn followed with the first of his two doubles to score Hayes then a Conneaut throwing error allowed Knight to come home.

Starting pitcher Scott Davidson helped his own cause when he reached on a bunt, allowing Ashburn to score, then advanced to second on a Conneaut error.

When the inning finally ended the Spartans found themselves down, 7-0.

“We hit the ball well and once again it’s nice to get some guys in,” Barber said. “(Relief pitcher) Justin (Drews) did a nice job, Scotty Davidson bouncing back getting some innings was nice.”

Davidson started, going 3.2 innings, allowing just four hits and two runs (one earned). Drews finished and got the win just one hit and no runs while striking out two over his 2.1 innings of work.

The only time the Spartans (6-7) threatened was the fourth.

Jared Walker singled to start the inning then came home on a Joey Borgerding double. Borgerding was thrown out at third trying to stretch the double to a triple.

Later in the inning, after a Jefferson error, Derek Frazee plated Justin Blood on a single to left.

“I think our guys kind of had a sense of urgency, down, 7-0,” Conneaut coach Walker Graher said. “They started thinking, ‘I gotta make the big hit, gotta make something happen.’ But you gotta continue to hack away and try to get some runs and hits back to back. Don’t swing for triples, home runs. Patience has been a problem for us.

“Our guys gotta be a little more selective (at the plate).”

On the flip side, Barber was pleased with the pitching performance he got as he tries to set up his rotation for the weekend and upcoming tournament.

“We’re trying to set up things for the tournament,” he said. “We’ve got a big doubleheader with (undefeated) Grand Valley Saturday, so that will set things up. We’ll have everybody available then we’ll set our rotation for the tournament. We’re looking forward to that (doubleheader with GV).

“Those kids play together on the same summer team, it’s a good thing and it’ll be our senior day. Once again a good, competitive team. (But) take it with a grain of salt because everyone is getting ready for the tournament.”

Brett Powers capped the scoring for Jefferson in the top of the sixth with a two-run single to right field.

Graher complimented the talent of the Falcons, but admitted his team didn’t do itself any favors with all the walks.

“They’re a good team and as has been the case most of the year no matter how good your opponent is you can’t make things easy on them,” Graher said. “They had some good, timely hits but their big innings were set up by us walking guys. We had the occasional mind lapse on defense or something, so we’ve got to cut that out to minimize the big innings.

“When you’re playing good teams come tournament time, you’re not going to give yourself a chance doing that.”

The win keeps the momentum alive for the Falcons as they continue to roll after a tough start. Jefferson has gone 16-2 since losing its first three games of the season.

“The main thing is the mental attitude changed,” Barber said. “We had a heart to heart. We bought into it. It wasn’t a good baseball attitude starting out... It was just a bad attitude.”

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