Monday, February 6, 2023

Marines cruise past Air Force, 9-1

EASTLAKE—Beachwood’s Shawn May set the tone early for the Marines All-Stars in their 9-1 win over the Air Force All-Stars in the 2016 Ohio Varsity All-Star Classic on Saturday at Classic Park.

May, who started in center field, caught a fly ball off the bat of Chardon’s Joe Mysyk in the top of the first inning and gunned down Kenston’s Barrett Weber, who attempted to tag from third.

“It felt great,” May said of his throw to the plate. “When I caught it I didn't thing he was going to go at first. I was like, 'alright, he’s going to go, he's going to test my arm,' so I threw all I had.”

May then led off the Marines’ half of the inning with a walk, stole second and scored on a single by Cuyahoga Heights’ Aaron Kucia.

Kucia moved to second on an error and scored on a fielder’s choice by Beachwood’s Charles Colson. Kirtland’s Joey Bates knocked in Colson to make it 3-0.

Air Forced pulled to within 3-1 in the second on a one out single by Gilmour Academy’s Grant Zarrinmakan. Chardon’s Dakota Hill had the RBI single.

The Marines pitchers wouldn’t allow another run.

“All these kids are good players and had good careers,” said Berkshire coach Steve Smetana, who guided the Marines to the win. “It was good to be able to coach and have that camaraderie with kids that love the game of baseball and have some ability. We put some hits together in bunches and it was a good time. They had fun with it. That’s what it's all about.”

After Air Force pitchers struck out seven straight batters in the third, fourth and fifth innings, the Marines added three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to close out the scoring.

Orange’s Harrison Gross struck out the final batter in the third and Mentor’s Rob Mealey took over and struck out six straight before yielding a leadoff walk to Geneva’s Brent Bell in the sixth.

Independence’s Ricky Dolejs, who was 3-for-3 on the night, then singled and Bell scored on a throwing error to make it 4-1. May then came up with two outs and delivered a clutch RBI single to score Dolejs. Smetana then called for the hit and run and Kucia tapped a single through the hole at shortstop. May scored on the play to make it 6-1.

An error, hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. Bell and Dolejs hit back-to-back singles to make it 9-1.

The Air Force had a few scoring opportunities but couldn’t get the clutch hits when they needed them.

“It was a fabulous game,” said Mayfield coach Don Ramer, who closed out his 16-year career as the coach of the Air Force All-Stars. “I thought what stood out is all the pitchers threw strikes and turned it into an offensive game. They capitalized. We got guys on and just didn't capitalize but it was a great game.”

May was 2-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored and Kucia also had two hits and two runs batted in for the Marines. Weber, Mayfield’s Jack Longo and Hill all had two hits for the Air Force. Weber and Hill both had doubles.

Cuyahoga Heights’ Michael Hartman allowed one unearned run on five hits and struck out one in two innings to pick up the win. Kucia struck out five in three innings for the Marines.

Mealey recorded seven strike outs in three innings for the Air Force.

Mentor's Matt Eiswerth was named the 2016 Ohio Varsity Baseball Player of the Year.



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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