Rafalski pitches Steelheads past Beaver Valley

Warren’s Ryan Rafalski (right) had a strong game for the Erie Steelheads in their 4-3 win over the Manchester A’s in the opening game in pool play in the Buckeye Elite 16U Showcase Tournament on Thursday.

BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. – Another dominant performance by a Warren baseball player helped the Erie Steelheads to a win in their opening game at the Mountaineer Cup Championship in West Virginia Friday.

Ryan Rafalski allowed one run on four hits in five innings while adding a pair of RBI to lead the Steelheads to a 9-1 win over Beaver Valley Red 16U. He also struck out four and walked just two.

His Dragons teammates, Mitch Grosch and Micah Passmore, each scored a run in the win.

Rafalski didn’t surrender a hit until the third, and that was a slow rolling ground ball to third that Grosch couldn’t get to in time to get the runner.

Meanwhile, the Steelies (25-5) were building a big lead for Rafalski to work with.

Cody Smith (Harbor Creek) drew a bases loaded walk with two outs in the first inning to bring home Matt Shepard (McDowell) and put the Steelheads up 1-0.

Cam Williamson (Harbor Creek) singled to start the second. Passmore followed with a walk and Jared Bielanin (McDowell) singled to bring in Williamson and double the lead. Grosch was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Casey Smith (Harbor Creek) drew a one out walk to score Passmore and make it 3-0. Mason Bender (Fairview) singled in Bielanin and Cody Smith drew another bases loaded walk to bring in Grosch and give the Steelheads a 5-0 lead.

Beaver Valley scored its lone run in the fourth. With runners at the corners, Christian Zilli (Hempfield) hit a liner to center to bring in Chris Juchno (McDowell) to make it 5-1.

Shepard hit a one out single in the bottom of the fourth and Casey Smith tripled him in to regain a 5-run advantage. Bender followed with a RBI single to make it 7-1. Aidan Kelly (Erie Cathedral Prep) singled and Cody Smith walked to load the bases. Rafalski reached on an error and both Kelly and Cody Smith scored on the play to make it 9-1.

The Steelheads have a double header today. They’ll square off against West Hills at 1:30 p.m. before taking on Flood City Elite at 4:40 p.m. The Steelies get an early start Sunday as they meet the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox 16U at 8 a.m.

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Mid-Atlantic Red Sox 17U rained out

Speaking of the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox, their 17U team, featuring Warren’s Aidan Morrison and Austyn Cummings, tried to play through the weather Friday in the Team Showcase at West Virginia University.

Their game against MSI Leitzel was tied at 2-2 midway through the third inning when it was postponed for the day due to rain.

Both Cummings and Morrison were 1-1 prior to the delay. Cummings scored a run and Morrison had a double and stolen base. Morrison also caught a runner stealing in the first inning.

The game may be finished today depending on the weather and if both teams have time to fit it in. Time to be determined.

The Red Sox regularly scheduled game today is against the Virginia Seminoles and first pitch is set for 6 p.m. They play a double header Sunday with the opening game set for 10 a.m. against the Next Level Athletics. The second game gets underway at 12:20 p.m. against Beaver Valley.


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