By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP - There are games where pitchers carry a defense and then there are games where the defense will carry a pitcher.
Harvey pitcher Jacob Farren used his teammates well Tuesday in holding Conneaut at bay in a Division II sectional championship win, 5-0, at Kidder Field in the Havens Complex.
"When (third baseman) Andre (Smith) made that first play of the game, I knew the defense would be there for me," Farren said. "After that, I just thought I'd have some fun. It's a big confidence booster. If I know the defense will be there, I pitch so much better."
The second-seeded Red Raiders (13-11, 6-6 in Northeastern Conference) will play (1) Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin Tuesday in a Division II district semifinal at Kidder Field. The Lions defeated Lake Catholic, 6-1, Tuesday. ; ;
Farren, who had trouble spotting his fastball, was buoyed by a strong defensive showing from his teammates.
"He's a good pitcher," Conneaut coach Joel Taylor said. "He kept us off-balance and we weren't as disciplined at the plate as we could've been. The defense made some very nice plays. (Smith) made that first play of the game, they made a running over-the-shoulder catch in left-center and the second baseman made a circus catch in short right field. They made all the plays they should have and then some exceptional ones."
Farren (5-1) allowed just three hits, struck out eight, walked two and kept the Spartans' hitters off balance all game.
"I didn't realize I had that good a game," Farren said. "There were some baserunners. The defense kept me in it. I just tried to get ahead so they didn't know what was coming."
"He didn't have his best fastball today," Karako said. "He had good command of his curveball and if he can stay on top of that, it's tough to hit. He battled, but he hung in there. The defense behind him played great. They made some nice plays. He showed he was bulldog."
Mick Mohner singled down the third-base line for Harvey's first run in the home half of the second.
Harvey then scored four runs in the fourth to put the Spartans (7-14, 3-10 in NEC) away. Logan Repko, Mohner, Matt Betteley and Matt Hill all drove in runs in the inning.
Sean McFarland, Mohner (2 RBI) and Matt Hill all had two hits for Harvey. Marcus Roach, Blaze Miracle and Cody Blood all had hits for Conneaut. ; ;
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.