The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 5, 2013

Better late than...

Warriors rally to edge Eagles

By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The Edgewood baseball team is still finding itself, but that doesn’t mean the Warriors aren’t doing some good things.

The Warriors overcame an early 3-0 deficit to claim a thrilling 8-7 non-conference victory over Geneva on Thursday at Higgins Field.

“It’s a lot better to be 4-0 than it is to be 0-4,” Edgewood coach Bill LIpps said. “We’re still figuring out what kind of team we will have. We only have two seniors, but a lot of our kids have good junior varsity experience.

“Today, a couple of our young kids pitched well enough to win for us. We didn’t handle our leather too well and we sure didn’t hit too well, but we did little things to win the game. Our body language in the first four innings wasn’t good.”

Down, 4-0, heading into the bottom of the fourth and not looking sharp, Anthony Magda, Nick Johnson, and Devon Maurer each had sent ground balls up the middle for singles to jumpstart the offense for the Warriors. A perfectly executed delayed double steal by Magda and pinch runner Dan Joslin set up a Maurer single and Steve Perkio sacrifice fly, and the home side of the field came to life.

“I thought we did a great job in innings one through five,” Geneva coach Justin Drapp said. “We were shutting down their big guns and getting big plays when we needed them. We had some things go wrong, but we’re a young team learning to work on our mental toughness in certain situations.”

A Nick Pae sacrifice fly, Dan Camplese double, and Brent Bell single plated a trio of Eagle runs in the first, and they manufactured a fourth tally with two outs in the third.

Ryan Nappi singled, moved up on a walk and came home when a grounder off the bat of Eric Juncker was misplayed at first and the ensuing throw home went astray.

Magda then got things going in the fourth for Edgewood, setting the stage for a frenetic finale.

After Connor DiGiacomo made the score 5-2 with a sixth inning sacrifice fly, Edgewood tied the game in the bottom half of the inning with three runs on just a single hit. An error started it all, and two walks and two hit batters, the last being Nick Johnson with the bases loaded, knotted things up.

“I was just trying to wait for a good pitch,” the junior catcher said. “I either wanted to get a good pitch to drive or keep fouling them off until I did get a good one.”

Instead, he took one shoulder.

He wasn’t done.

After a wild throw on a sacrifice bunt in the top of the seventh off the bat of Bell sent runners to second and third for the Eagles (0-1), a wild pitch plated one runner and David Smalley drilled a double to left center to give Geneva a 7-5 lead.

“Poise is important in baseball,” Drapp said. “We started one freshman, and have a few sophomores, but our seniors need to step up as leaders.

“We were right there, but just didn’t get it done all the time when we had to. We got out of a couple tough spots, but then couldn’t do it again in that last inning.”

Six walks, a pair of passed balls, a wild pitch, and a dropped foul ball with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the seventh spelled doom for the Eagles.

Nappi had three hits and Brandon Kovach and Connor DiGiacomo each had two as the Eagles outhit Edgewood, 10-7.

Devon Maurer and Connor McLaughlin each had two safeties for Edgewood, which took advantage of 11 walks, two hit batsmen, and five Eagle errors.

Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.