PEPPER PIKE–Orange rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and then held off visiting West Geauga in the seventh to seal a 6-5 Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division win on Monday.
The Lions stole five total bases while executing nine total hits as a team.
“Honestly, we just need to keep getting out here and playing baseball,” said Orange coach Fred Zupancic when speaking about keeping the momentum. “This spring has been brutal for us, this was our 11th game, so just getting out here and playing is a huge plus for us and seeing regular pitching and playing the game how we want to play it.”
Each team played aggressively early on, as the first three runs were scored in the top of the fourth by the Wolverines. Brody Gruber knocked in a pair of runs to get West Geauga on the board and on the next play, Kyle Osicki knocked in Brett Ringerbach, who got on base after a fielder’s choice.
The Lions responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
After Johnny Boyle drew a walk, he would score on a Noah Bromberg double over the left fielder’s head. Jackson Fellinger followed with an RBI single that trimmed West Geauga’s lead to 3-2.
The Wolverines kept up the pressure at the plate in the fifth as Travis Velba knocked in Ty Boze, who doubled earlier in the inning, to push the West Geauga lead to 4-2.
Orange once again responded as Brandon Lurie singled and scored on an error.
The Lions took their first lead in the sixth.
Lawson Blasier was hit by a pitch to start the rally and quickly stole second base. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on Maxx Abramson’s bunt single. Abramson later stole home and Chaz Proels singled and scored on a Lurie single.
West Geauga pulled to within 6-5 in the top of the seventh when Nate Mikonsky hit an RBI single that scored Rickly Platt but Lurie pitched his way out of the jam to record a complete-game victory.
Lurie allowed five unearned runs on nine hits and fanned five.
“It was a team win,” Lurie said. “We all worked hard, played well, made a couple of errors but all you can do is come back from that and when everyone does their job we get a win like this.”
Trevor Moss and Lurie both finished with two hits for Orange while Proels, Bromberg, Fellinger, Johnny Neal, and Abramson each had one.
Zupancic credits his coaching staff for being one of the keys to getting the win over the Wolverines.
“I’m very fortunate to have a very experienced coaching staff,” Zupancic said. “They don’t get too high or too low and try to maintain an even keel. We work all year long. It’s about competing pitch-to-pitch, at-bat-to-at bat, flushing out the bad, and taking the good.”
With the win, Orange improved to 4-6 overall and 4-3 in league play.
Boze, Platt, Mikonski, and Osicki each recorded two hits for the Wolverines, who dropped to 4-13, 0-8.
West Geauga Coach Derek Buell knows this loss can be a learning opportunity for his team.
“Our mantra is always to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “Now, if something like (this game) happens, hopefully, we will be prepared for it. We did some good things but we also did some bad things, and my thing is to learn from the mistakes and it’ll help us grow.”