The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

July 21, 2013

Ashtabula battles in opener

Local team falls in close contest at first game of state tournament

ASHTABULA — The Ashtabula Major League All-Stars won the District 1 title last weekend by taking advantage of each and every opportunity they got. But, in the first day of state tourney action Saturday, going up against a Maumee team who loves small ball and taking advantage of mistakes, Ashtabula had the tables turned on them in a tough 3-0 loss to the visitors from District 10.

“Small ball is our way of playing,” Maumee manager Dave Wells said. “We love to manufacture runs. Once we get runners on base, we love to move them along any way we can. We work hard on bunting, too.”

Although normally a sound hitting team, Maumee did not pound the ball against Ashtabula’s Andrew Mehalic. He threw strikes, but had one lapse in control in the bottom of the fourth inning when he issued all three of his walks. Unfortunately, two of them came consecutively to Braden Wagener and Matthew Dalton with the bases loaded. Those free passes took the last bit if air out of the Ashtabula sails as it battled to stay in the game.

Mehalic scattered eight singles — three of which were bunts. That gave the local boys that much more to think about as their own offense sputtered mightily against hurler Zach Wells.

Wells tossed a wide variety of curves and changeups, with an occasional fastball mixed in. He avoided problems by not issuing any walks and scattering just two hits, singles by Ron Nickle and Mehalic.

“All of our kids can pitch,” manager Wells said. “We have five house teams to build our team from, so we get some really good kids. That gives us a good edge, and then we can get the ball to our closer, things work out well for us.”

That closer is the intimidating Matthew Dalton. Starting at first base, he drove home two of the three runs for Maumee. After five innings of slow stuff from Wells, Dalton came in throwing fire, fanning all three hitters he faced to end the game.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our kids,” Ashtabula manager Brian Mehalic said. “I think we played a really good game today, but we didn’t hit the ball. That kid’s (Wells) off speed stuff kept us off balance, then they brought in the big kid throwing heat.”

The start of the game was delayed for an hour and a half due to storms that blew through the area late Friday night and early Saturday morning. A huge crew of volunteers worked diligently to make Tulino Field playable.

Defense played a big part in the game for both teams.

A Maumee rally in the second, with runners on first and second with no outs, was halted by a slick fielder’s choice forceout at second keyed by shortstop Ozzie Campbell and capped by the next hitter. He lined a shot at Campbell, who fired to Grant Kingston at third for an inning ending double play.

Ashtabula appeared to be getting the range on Wells’ offspeed pitches, but in the third, with one out, Alec Katon drilled a screamer to right center. What originally looked like a gap shot, centerfielder Bryan Pouter dashed toward the ball and made a fully stretched out grab to take the air out of the local sails. Later, Wells ripped a grounder up the middle in the third that hit second base and rolled off for a single, leading to the first run for Maumee.

“When you see some of the things some of these teams can do, you see that they get a lot of playing time together, much of it in travel ball,” Mehalic said. “We don’t get the same start as many of them do, but we still do a pretty good job of competing.”

Ashtabula continues its state tournament on Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. when it tangles with the loser of the Washington Court House-New Albany game.

Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Coming attractions

    While it seems only yesterday school was letting out and summer vacation was starting, the time for respite will have the curtain drop for area high school football players this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGES:

    TUESDAY, AUG. 12

    • Lake Catholic at Perry (10)

    July 28, 2014

  • Lexi Outlaws gunning for national title in Virginia

    There’s gold in their name and that’s just what the Ohio Outlaws Gold softball squad is gunning for at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals this week in Salem, Va.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Brandon Easton A Don McCormack column:Easton on right pitch in Florida

    Paying a Monday morning visit to the variety store...

    Firing away
    The second summer as a professional baseball player has been an excellent one for Brandon Easton, to this point.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: OEW doing good job of passing it on

    On July 18, 19 and 20, the Ashtabula County Wildlife Conservation League (ACWCL) along with Ashtabula Rod & Gun Club (ARGC) held their annual OEW (Outdoor Education Weekend) Weekend.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kaydee Vaulting to The Rock

    When Jefferson’s Kaydee DeVivo first started pole vaulting as a freshman for the Falcons, she knew it was the event for her.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • run VanHoy racing on

    Geneva track star Hailey VanHoy had a near unbelievable run of success during her final months running for the Eagles.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video