GRANGER TWP.: Walsh Jesuit capitalized on Highland errors to hand the host Hornets their first loss of the season Saturday by the score of 10-4.
The Warriors (3-1) scored early, getting two runs in the first inning off Hornets right-handed starter Jacob Pries, who took the loss.
Walsh junior outfielder Gino Sassano led off with an infield single on a high chopper to third base and came around to score when senior catcher Cassidy Brown reached on an error, a theme that would become troubling for the Hornets (3-1).
Highland committed two errors in the first inning and finished with five in the game.
“I can’t quite put my finger on it, to be honest,” Highland coach Jay Grissom said. “I think we were maybe just a little too excited about this game and we might have carried some of that out onto the field.”
Pries, who labored through 30 pitches in the first inning, bounced back with a quick second inning that included two strikeouts.
But it was evident that the high pitch count took its toll on Pries, a senior, in the later innings when the game was blown open.
Junior shortstop and Ohio State recruit Nate Romans led off the third inning with an opposite-field double to left that nearly made it out of the park and scored on a single by junior first baseman Trevor Ray.
In the fourth, Romans displayed his ability to hit to all fields by doubling down the right-field line, scoring sophomore Riley Minorik.
Senior catcher Brown, a Loyola-Marymount recruit, followed with a home run over the 350-foot sign in left-center field, the deepest part of the ballpark.
Brown, who reached on an error in the first inning on a hard-hit ball through the second basemen’s legs, hit the ball hard in his second at-bat as well, lining out to deep center field.
“I felt really good seeing the ball today,” he said. “The second at-bat I was guessing curveball first pitch and he threw it but I just missed that one. In the third at-bat, I thought to myself ‘No way he’s coming back first-pitch curveball again.’ I got a fastball on a 1-1 count and was able to drive it. It was in my zone.”
The Warriors, playing in their fourth game of the season, trotted a new pitcher out to the mound every inning to see what they’re working with.
Junior right-hander Tim Benner, who worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning with two called strikeouts, caught his coach’s eye the most.
“I really liked the way the ball was leaving Tim’s hand today,” Walsh coach Chris Kaczmar said. “He really had good control of all of his pitches.”
Southpaw starter Ty Shoaff earned the win for Walsh.
Center fielder and Lake Erie recruit Luke Raley was the lone constant in Highland’s lineup, reaching base all four times.
Raley showed great plate discipline, walking three times and also singled and stole a base in the second inning. He scored two of the Hornets’ four runs.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.