May 18, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Though the venue had changed in the 13 days since they first met, the reality — Westhill’s baseball team had a firm grip on Bishop Ludden, and everyone else in the OHSL Liberty division — remained the same.
As part of Saturday’s opening round of the Utica-Notre Dame Tournament, the Warriors took out the Gaelic Knights 11-2, an even more impressive showing than the 9-2 win it had when they played May 3 at Alliance Bank Stadium.
A three-run third inning pushed the Warriors (15-2) out in front, and though Ludden would get RBIs from John Rooney and Mike DeMaio in the bottom of the third, it would not score again.
Nate Nigolian pitched superbly for Westhill, holding the Gaelic Knights’ potent lineup to just six hits, and he didn’t have to wait too long to gain a cushion.
The Warriors used seven runs in the top of the fourth to take charge. Mike McMullen doubled twice, earning two RBIs as Nigolian and Mike DeCarr also drove in two runs. Ryan Malley and Jake Rush earned one RBI apiece. Ludden’s Casey Ganley took the loss, with Matt Weeks and Corey Hunter also seeing stints on the mound.
In the days leading up to the rematch, both sides would play a lot, but only Westhill maintained its winning touch on a full-time basis.
Going to Homer last Monday night, the Warriors beat the Trojans 8-4, a game that was in doubt much of the way.
Not until the sixth inning, when Westhill scored a run to break a 4-4 tie, did it go ahead for good, as a trio of seventh-inning runs stretched out the margin.
Pat Lemmo pitched a complete game and got the win. Mike McMullen hit his team’s only home run and finished with two RBIs as Ryan Malley, Nate Nigolian and Dan Lowery each drove in one run.
Westhill then met Hannibal on Wednesday and needed all the early cushion it built up to earn a 9-6 victory over that other band of Warriors.
The Warriors scored in each of the first four innings and built an 8-0 bulge. Ryan Malley shut down Hannibal until the fifth inning, when the visitors scored twice.
What followed was a wild seventh inning where Hannibal, still down 9-2, scored four times, forcing Westhill to use three pitchers — Jack Ganley, then McMullen, and finally DeCarr — to get that elusive final out.
Before getting the save, DeCarr smacked a home run and finished with two RBIs. Nigolian, McMullen, Greg Schmidt, Nick Downs and Dan Karleski each drove in one run.
In a Friday visit to Marcellus, the Warriors turned to DeCarr, who gave up just five hits in a complete-game gem as he beat the Mustangs 6-1.
Jeff Crysler’s second-inning RBI briefly put Marcellus ahead 1-0, but The Warriors scored twice in the third inning, then stayed patient until a three-run seventh inning put it away. Karleski, Lemmo, Nigolian and DeCarr each had one RBI.
Ludden, for its part, endured a classic nine-inning battle at Hannibal last Monday before taking a 5-4 loss to those other Warriors, just its second defeat of the season.
Early on, the Gaelic Knights were in control, seizing a 4-0 lead with two-run rallies in the third and fourth inning as Dan Fadden earned two RBIs and Matt Weeks also drove in a run.
Hannibal rallied with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie it, 4-4, and the game settled into a pitching battle as John Rooney, relieving Matt Pirro, kept Hannibal off the board in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Finally, in the bottom of the ninth, Alec Nelson reached base with a single. He got to second, then scored the winning run when Derrick Shoults singled off James Murray, who took the loss.
In Friday’s game at Jordan-Elbridge, Ludden (14-3) turned it around, beating the Eagles 8-1. Single runs in each of the first four innings helped build a 4-0 lead, but the Gaelic Knights still needed a four-run seventh inning to get clear.
Combined, pitchers James Murray and Ryan O’Kane surrendered just three hits. Chris Davis drove in two runs as Fadden and Murray each ended up with one RBI.