Kirtland got back to .500 and gained some much-needed momentum heading into the postseason with a pair of wins at the Perry Wood Bat Tournament on Saturday.
The Hornets opened the day with a 3-1 win over Garrettsville Garfield and beat Beachwood in five innings, 11-1, just as LeBron James hit his game-winning shot to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Toronto Raptors just before midnight.
“We beat two quality teams today and winning both games today was very important to give us good momentum heading into our final league game and the tournament,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel.
Tyler McCrory allowed just four hits and one unearned run with seven strikeouts for the Hornets in the win over Garfield.
The win was the first for McCrory since April 9.
“It felt great to finally get a win,” McCrory said. “I feel like I’ve been pitching well by throwing strikes but other teams have been hitting the ball well. Today, was just a good game all around by the whole team and that’s why we got the W.”
McCrory lowered his ERA to 3.835 by getting ahead of the Garfield hitters.
“My two-seam (fastball) was moving well today as well as throwing my curveball at good times and also at different locations,” he said. “Getting ahead in the count is also huge because I get to throw some off-speed if I want to. Getting a win this close to the playoffs gives us a huge momentum boost going into the playoffs, especially to a team like Garrettsville, who was 10-4 I think and the fact they played a solid game as well.”
Sean McGill, Ryan Lipps, Mike Zeuli, Luke Potopsky, Andrew DeMarco, and Gino Rosson all had hits for the Hornets.
Zeuli’s was a triple and he added two more three-baggers in the nightcap.
He finished the day 3-for-6 with three runs scored, two RBI and three triples.
“When I’m in an at-bat, I am just thinking to drive a pitch that I know I can hit,” Zeuli said. “All of my hits just felt great off the bat and when I feel that I just hustle and get as many bases as possible.”
McGill and Victor Kissinger both had two hits against the Bison and McGill led the Hornets with three runs batted in.
Kirtland improved to 11-11 overall with three wins in their last four games.
“This year has been kind of all over the place with rain delays and makeups, so it is nice to finally be able to stick to a consistent schedule and not have to worry about not playing for a week then having a conference game,” Zeuli said. “The past couple of games have given our team a bunch of confidence. We have started to hit the ball well and stole a lot of bases and we are getting hot at a perfect time just before the tournament.”