The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

May 3, 2012

Campbell put in soup

Jefferson sort of simmers until titanic seventh boils Red Devils

CAMPBELL — For six innings, Jefferson and Campbell were locked in a moderately competitive All-American Conference contest as the Falcons led the Red Devils, 6-2.

That was, until the seventh inning hit.

Jefferson (15-5, 9-1) sent 21 batters to the plate in the top half of the inning, scoring 15 runs and taking advantage of five Campbell errors (8 total for the game) as it cruised to a 21-2 win.

“We had some good at-bats that were right at people and they made some plays,” Jefferson coach Scott Barber said of the first six innings.

“It was a good ballgame up until then, then the flood gates just opened quickly. It was nice to get everybody in.

“A lot of younger guys got in which is why we brought them. We finished off with (freshman pitcher) Tristan (Hayford) in a nice inning for him, his first varsity inning. (There were) a lot of firsts today.”

The seventh started with a Johnny Knight walk. He proceeded to steal second and came home on a ground-rule double by catcher Nick Stranman.

Stranman looked to have his second triple of the game, but the ball rolled under the left-field fence at Roosevelt Park.

“Nick does a great job,” Barber said. “The last week, he’s hit the ball on the nose and not a lot to show for it. So it’s good for him to find some gaps today.”

Stranman advanced to third on a fly ball, the first out of the seventh.

From that point, the next 13 Falcon batters to come to the plate all reached and scored before Campbell was able to record the second out of the inning.

“We were with them 6-2 going into the seventh then we gave up a bunch of runs,” Campbell (3-10, 2-5) coach Brandon Nichols said. “Our defense started to kick the ball around a little bit. It happens, we’re a young team.”

Jefferson got on the board to start the game in the top of the first when Knight was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, allowing Chase Stowe to score.

The Falcons added two more in the third when Andy Santiago singled home Joey Piscsalko and Kyle Ashburn hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Ryan Hayes.

Jefferson came right back with two more in the top of the fourth when Stowe reached on an error, stole second then scored on a Piscsalko single. Hayes brought home Piscsalko on a fielder’s choice to third.

That was plenty of run support for starting pitcher Ryan Zindash (2-1, 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 K, 3 BB), who didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning.

“He (Zindash) did a very nice job,” Barber said. “It was good to get him back on track. We’re going to need him when it comes tournament time. When he gets in a groove and is fluid he does a nice job.”

The only time the Red Devils threatened offensively was the bottom of the fourth. Brandon Hotus tripled home Anthony Clinscak and Hotus later scored on a sacrifice by Niro Bednarik.

Then, three innings later, Jefferson slammed the door shut with its 15-run inning.

“They’re probably the best hitting team one through nine that we’ve seen all year,” Nichols said. “That’s a heck of a ballclub they’ve got over there. Our goal going in was just to stay competitive and we did that the first six innings then things got away.”

Barber admitted his team might’ve taken Campbell a little lightly going into the contest, saying the Red Devils were a better team than even he might have expected.

Any loss of focus on three-win Campbell might’ve been a result of the Falcons clinching an AAC title on Tuesday night after a 5-4 win over Girard.

The win over the Red Devils gave Jefferson its ninth conference win of the season, something Barber said he’s particularly pleased with.

“(We) haven’t quite peaked to our top notch we can play, but the kids still want to work hard so that’s good,” he said. “We played a lot of these schools (AAC teams) in non-conference games the last few years because I wanted to play good schools that are not in our area. It’s nice to play them and it’s nice to win.

“We knew we could compete but you don’t always win games against good teams; you gotta play good ball.”

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