ERIE - Eisenhower dropped its first playoff appearance in years, 15-5, to Conneaut Lake on Monday in a District 10 Class A playoff game at Ainsworth Field.
"The last couple of years haven't been great - it's nice to make it to the playoffs" said Eisenhower senior Joe Rutsky, whose Knights finish 6-11 overall after finishing second (4-2) in Region 5. Ike last made the playoffs in 2004.
After Conneaut Lake had a three-run first inning, Eisenhower spent the entire game trying to battle back.
Times Observer photo by Mitchell Wilston
Eisenhower first baseman Joe Rutsky waits for the throw from second as the Knights try to turn a double play in their 15-5 playoff loss to Conneaut Lake on Monday.
"We didn't play well from the first pitch. The effort wasn't there," said Eisenhower coach Jon Vincent.
Eisenhower would get its first run of the game in the second inning when Eric Hastings was walked with the bases loaded to push Ryan Williams home. Conneaut Lake prevented any more runs with stellar pitching, stranding the runners on loaded bases.
While Eisenhower's batters were hot and cold, the Knights couldn't find an answer for their opponents and by the third inning the score was 8-1.
In the third inning, Williams took the mound in relief for Trevor Spicer. The Knights would change pitchers again in the sixth inning when Kyle Hunt came in.
Aaron Lundmark would start off a mini-rally in the fifth inning with an RBI double, driving in Jeb Fedorchuk and Hastings. Josh Deppas then went into the game for Lundmark as a courtesy runner, and he would score off of a sac-fly by Aaron Jackson, who - unable to pitch due to injury - was the Knights' designated hitter.
The absence of the Knights ace pitcher was certainly noticed.
Going into the bottom of the fifth, down 10-5, the Knights needed a strong performance in the field, but couldn't hold off the Conneaut Lake batters who pulled away and put the game out of contention.
"We can get back next year," said Vincent.
The Knights will be graduating just three starters: Rutsky, Hastings and Jackson.
EISENHOWER(5): Eric Hastings, 2b, 4-0-1-0, Aaron Lundmark, c, 4-1-2-1, Bryce Garris, rf, 0-0-0-0, Aaron Jackson, dh, 4-0-0-1, Kyle Hunt, ss-p, 4-0-0-0, Joe Rutsky, 1b, 3-0-1-0, Ryan Williams, 3b-p-ss, 3-1-0-0, Trevor Spicer, p-3b, 3-0-1-0, Shane Arford, lf, 3-1-1-0, Jeb Fedorchuk, cf, 3-1-0-0. Totals: 31-5-6-2.
CONNEAUT LAKE(15):ab-r-h-rbi. Cody Slevin, 2b, 5-1-3-0, Cole Baker, ss, 4-4-3-0, Alex McCann, 1b, 4-3-3-3, Kyle Ankwright, p, 3-2-1-0, Tyler McClimens, c, 5-1-2-2, Derek Nieman, cf, 4-2-2-1, Chris McCann, lf, 5-2-3-2, Joe Boryszewski, rf, 4-0-1-0 Damien Granada 4-0-1-0. Totals: 38-15-20-8.
Eisenhower 010 031 - 5 6 2
Conneaut Lake 323 232 - 15 20 1
2b- Lundmark (E), Arford (E), Nieman (C). HR-Baker (C). WP-Ankwright. LP-Spicer.