Friday, February 23, 2024

Ball bounces Berkshire’s way in win over Cardinal

A seventh-inning error allowed Berkshire to score the go-ahead run in a 2-1 victory over host Cardinal on Wednesday in a game that spanned two days.

The Badgers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Tuesday but that game was postponed due to inclement weather before the Huskies had a chance to bat in the bottom half of the frame. When play resumed on Wednesday, Cardinal scored the tying run in its first at-bat but the Badgers pulled out the win to keep alive their hopes of winning the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division title.

“It was nice to pull out a win and it’s always nice to win ugly,” said Berkshire coach Nick Burzanko. “Their pitcher threw well. He kept us off-balance with his fastball and curveball combo. We didn’t have great approaches at the plate but we did have some timely situational baseball, where the ball fell our way and it resulted in a big win for us and we needed it.”

Jack Jacobs drew a leadoff walk in Tuesday’s first inning and scored on Jake Brown’s double.

Cardinal tied it in the bottom half of the inning when Jake Bean reached on a two-out error and scored on a Brandon Collins single.

After that inning, the pitchers dominated.

Cardinal’s Justin Shank allowed just four base runners between the first and seventh innings. He allowed just one earned run on three hits—all in the first two innings of play—and struck out 10 in a complete game.

Berkshire’s J.T. Bergmeier was equally effective. He allowed one unearned run on six hits and fanned seven in six innings of work. Brown earned the save with a scoreless seventh inning.

“Cardinal threatened a lot,” Burzanko said. “We only mustered three hits and one of them was (on Tuesday). We only had two hits today and they were in the first two innings. We went hitless the rest of the game. We had a couple of walks here and there but Shank, for the most part, he dealed and did a great job of keeping us off balance and we didn’t hit the ball hard anywhere.”

Berkshire loaded the bases in the top of the seventh.

Garrett Bosse drew a leadoff walk and Max Janssen sacrificed him to second. Bergmeier then grounded out, which allowed Bosse to move to third. Jacobs was hit by a pitch and Blake Jenkins drew a walk that brought Brown to the plate with a chance to score the go-ahead run.

“He hit probably the highest fly ball I have ever seen in a high school baseball game,” Burzanko said. “The wind was swirling and it moved the baseball around enough for them to misplay it and the ball fell on the infield and we were able to move one guy across the plate to take the 2-1 lead.”

Brown’s skyscraping-pop-up started on the first base side of the mound but ended up near third base.

By the time the ball hit the dirt, Berkshire had scored the go-ahead run.

Ty Zeigler hit a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh but Brown retired the next two batters to seal Berkshire’s win.

With the win, the Badgers improved to 14-6 overall and 8-1 in the Valley Division. Berkshire hosts Cardinal on Thursday and needs a win to keep pace with Kirtland, who has first place locked down with a 10-0 record.

Berkshire and Kirtland will play a two-game series beginning on Monday.

Steve Hare
Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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