Ludden baseball goes 2-1 in league gauntlet

With a chance to firmly assert itself as a prime force in the OHSL Freedom division, the Bishop Ludden baseball team played three times and had little trouble winning the first two games.

However, in last Saturday's meeting with Mexico, a slow start doomed the Gaelic Knights and led to an 8-2 loss to the Tigers.

Mexico got to Ludden pitching ace Ryan Poplawski in a hurry, putting up four runs in the top of the first inning. A three-run fourth inning then made it 8-0 before Poplawski exited for relief pitcher Corey Hunter.

Meanwhile, the Gaelic Knights' lineup managed just five hits off Mexico hurler Justin Buckley, getting both of its runs in the bottom of fifth as Poplawski and John Rooney earned one RBI apiece.

Back on Monday afternoon, Ludden got a chance to showcase its offense against Fowler, recording a 21-9 victory over the Falcons.

The Gaelic Knights built an 11-4 lead through three innings, then kept on displaying its power, culminating with a seven-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth.

No doubt helped by a following wind, Rooney went deep twice for home runs as Poplawski, James Braithwaite and Matt Pirro also hit round-trippers.

Rooney, in all, finished with five RBIs as Poplawski drove in four runs and Pirro earned three RBIs. Braithwaite and winning pitcher Mike Solan each got two RBIs, with Mike DeMaio, Billy McGrath and Chris Schillo driving in single runs.

Then Ludden went to Fulton on Thursday afternoon and had a much closer contest, but still managed to beat the Red Raiders 7-4 thanks to its pair of stars.

The two sides were fairly even until the top of the fourth winning, when the Gaelic Knights built its winning margin by scoring four times off Fulton pitcher Gary Kemp.

As usual, Poplawski was at the center of the attack, getting three hits, including a triple, and producing three RBIs while improving his season average to .727.

Rooney, with relief help from Matt Pirro, took the win on the mound, and he also starred at the plate by doubling and driving in two runs.

While many other teams go out of town for spring break, Ludden must settle for shorter road trips to Cortland and Homer as it continues to get accustomed to its new league surroundings.

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