Steelies split; STR falls 3-1

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Erie Steelheads 17U Prospects team split a pair of games in the Worthington Wood Bat Tournament Friday.

The Steelies opened the day with a 13-4 win over Premier Ohio Heckler 16u, then dropped a 4-2 decision to Southern Ohio Athletics.

The Steelheads Prospects wasted little time getting on the board in the opener played at Ohio Dominican University. With one away in the first, Cody Smith (Harbor Creek), Mitch Grosch (Warren) and Luke Jackson (McDowell) all walked to load the bases. Aidan Kelly (Harbor Creek) grounded out, but Smith was able to score on the play. Warren’s Ryan Rafalski singled in Grosch and Jackson and Matt Shepard (McDowell) singled in Rafalski to put the Steelies up 4-0.

They blew the game wide open in the second.

Warren’s Micah Passmore hit a leadoff triple and Mason Bender (Fairview) walked. Passmore scored when Casey Smith (Harbor Creek) reached on an error. Cody Smith followed with a 2-run double and moved to third on an error on the play. He scored on a wild pitch and Grosch reached on an error. Jackson walked and, with one out, Rafalski reached on an error to load the bases. Shepard hit into a fielder’s choice, but Grosch scored on the play to make it 9-2. Jackson came home when Passmore reached on an error and Bender followed with a 2-run double to put the Steelheads up 12-2.

Cody Smith and Grosch hit back-to-back doubles to start the third to make it 13-3.

Ohio Heckler plated a run in the fourth, but the game ended there.

Southern Ohio got to Rafalski in the first inning of their game at Westerville Central High School with three straight 1-out singles to take a 1-0 lead. A walk and error made it 2-0 with the bases loaded. A walk pushed it to 3-0 and a ground out made it 4-0.

Casey Smith reached on an error to start the bottom half, and came around on Jackson’s 2-out single to cut it to 4-1.

Neither team was able to get much going through the second, third and fourth innings. Southern Ohio threatened in the fifth with consecutive walks to start the inning. Warren’s Nick Hussey came on to relieve Rafalski and stranded the runners to keep the Steelies in striking distance.

Jackson and Bender hit back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the fifth. Shepard hit a 2-out single to bring in Jackson and put the tying run on base, but Rafalski grounded out to end the contest.

For the day, Grosch was 1-5 with a double, RBI and two runs scored, Passmore was 2-6 with a triple and scored a pair, Hussey scored a run and pitched a scoreless, hitless inning of relief. Rafalski was 3-6 at the plate with a run scored and two RBI. On the mound he gave up four runs, two earned, on four hits in four innings. He walked four and struck out three.

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Nationals 3, Regulators 1

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The Southern Tier Regulators had the tying run in scoring position in the top of the seventh, but couldn’t bring him home in a 3-1 loss to the Keystone Nationals at Slippery Rock University Friday.

The Nationals took advantage of four third inning errors to plate a pair, then added an insurance run in the sixth.

Warren’s Lance Baldensperger singled to start the seventh for STR. Aidan Morrison reached on an error with two outs to put runners on first and second. Trey Swartz (Fredonia) singled in Baldensperger to make it 3-1. A balk put Morrison on third and Swartz at second with Olean’s Nick Crandall at the plate. Crandall lined the next pitch to first, but the first baseman snagged the liner to end the game.

The Regulators are back in action today when they take on West Hills at SRU.

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