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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Spalding rallies to beat A-W

Friday, June 22, 2012

(Photo)
(Sentinel photo by Jason Cox) Akron-Westfield junior Cory Eskra singles Thursday against Spalding Catholic in Akron.
AKRON -- The Westerners had fought hard all game long, and they were two outs away from upsetting Spalding Catholic on Thursday.

But like so many of their other games this season, it didn't end well for the Westerners. The Spartans scored three runs in the top of the seventh to defeat Akron-Westfield 9-7 in Akron.

Sophomore Brady Heying got the rally going for the Spartans when he crushed a double into the left-center field gap to leadoff the top of the seventh.

Heying was sacrificed to third, and he scored the tying run on a successful suicide squeeze bunt by sophomore Erik Willman. Willman reached first when A-W junior pitcher Chet Willer tried to get the out at home.

Willman stole second and scored the go-ahead RBI double by senior Tyler Konz. Junior Tommy Stoll added an insurance run with an RBI single. A-W didn't threaten in the bottom of the seventh.

Earlier in the game, errors cost the Westerners a couple of runs.

"Their one of the better teams in our conference," A-W coach Gordy Johnson said about Spalding. "And I think if we play clean, we're fine."

In the top of the first inning, Willer had some control issues, and the Spartans took a 2-0 lead. The Westerners (4-14) responded with three runs in the bottom of the first.

Junior Cory Eskra started the inning with a single, and sophomore Sam Mace followed with a walk. Willer put the Westerners on the board with an RBI single that sent Mace to third.

(Photo)
(Sentinel photo by Jason Cox) Akron-Westfield senior David Burkes throws for an out Thursday against Spalding Catholic.
Senior David Burkes hit a slow roller down the third base line that stayed fair and scored Mace. Junior Cole Oltmanns later gave the Westerners the lead with an RBI ground out.

With the help of two A-W errors, the Spartans scored two runs in the top of the third inning to take a 4-3 lead, but Burkes produced an RBI ground out in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at four.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Spartans took a 6-4 lead. One of their two runs were unearned.

The bats really came alive for the Westerns in the bottom of the fourth.

After junior Greg Taylor reached on an error to start the inning, junior Spencer Frankl lined a double to left for an RBI. Senior Zack Tindal then crushed an RBI double over the center fielder's head to tie the game.

Freshman Deven Meyers roped a single down the left field line to give the Westerners a 7-6 lead. After Eskra hit a rocket that the third baseman couldn't handle, the Spartans made a pitching change.

Konz replaced Willman on the mound, and he shut down the Westerners for the rest of the game.

Willer pitched a complete game for the Westerners. Despite giving up nine runs, Johnson thought Willer pitched OK.

"I've got no complaints from our pitchers," Johnson said. "I feel bad that we're not getting them any wins, but they're keeping us in games."

(Photo)
(Sentinel photo by Jason Cox) Akron-Westfield's Sam Mace slides into second for a stolen base Thursday against Spalding in Akron.
Errors have been a problem for the Westerners all season. Even though they made a couple of costly errors Thursday, the Westerners also made a few nice plays in the field.

"We moved Cory Eskra to shortstop, and he really played good," Johnson said. "Zack Tindall had a nice night at first."

Despite the tough loss, Johnson wasn't upset with how his team played.

"I think we played hard, and we had fun tonight," Johnson said. "We're getting better. If we just make a couple more plays, we win."

A-W will continue its season in a tournament Saturday in Hinton.



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