Saturday, January 28, 2023

Hawken walks-off with win over Fairport

Moments before Luke Marks faced an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning in Hawken’s league showdown with visiting Fairport Harding, a Hawks freshman asked coach Aaron Brandt a timely question.

“My freshman asked me, ‘If we win with a walk-off, are we allowed to ‘mob’ the hitter and throw water and stuff on him?’” Brandt said. “I told him, ‘Go to town.’”

Marks drove the next pitch he saw into center field to score pinch-hitter Mason Greenwald, who drew a leadoff walk, to give the Hawks a 2-1 win over the Skippers.

“That was very exciting for our guys,” Brandt said of the Senior Day win. “It was a big-time pitcher’s duel ending with our first CVC Chagrin Division win. The fact that our only two seniors on the squad played major roles, you could tell their teammates were super excited for them. After some recent success in the program, this has been difficult for the older guys, knowing this is a year with more young guys learning on the job.”

Both Fairport and Hawken scored a run in the first inning then Fairport’s Luke Honkala and Hawken’s Nick Bislich shut down their opposing hitters.

The game remained tied 1-1 into the bottom of the seventh.

Sam Schuster relieved Honkala, who allowed one unearned run on seven hits and struck out seven in six innings of work.

Greenwald drew a leadoff walk and stole second on the first pitch to leadoff hitter Nick Bislich. A passed ball allowed Greenwald to move to third but Bislich’s fly ball to the outfield wasn’t deep enough for Greenwald to tag up and score, which set the stage for Marks to become the hero.

Bislich went the distance for the Hawks.

He allowed just one earned run on two hits and struck out 11.

“Bislich struggled in the first inning, walking the leadoff hitter and then allowing him to score with two wild pitches and then he gave out a one-out triple and a second walk, before striking out the next two to stop the bleeding,” Brandt said. “He only let up one more hit–a sixth-inning bloop single–the rest of the game. He had excellent control of his curveball, but was also able to hit different locations with his fastball all night.”

Devin Anthony and Tommy Clark both had a pair of hits for the Hawks. Schuster and Joey Tanker recorded Fairport’s only hits.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, 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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