There were times Monday afternoon that the University of Akron’s Lee Jackson Field resembled a large sand box more than a baseball field.
Strong gusts of wind consistently lifted dirt off the ground and into the air where it greeted players, coaches, umpires and spectators.
Even with that nuisance, the sun still shone and the temperatures were comfortable for a regular season game between the top two teams in the North Coast League Blue Division: Archbishop Hoban and Walsh Jesuit.
The teams were even through seven innings.
Then in the eighth inning, Hoban junior Sean Trexler delivered a two-out bases-loaded single to center that scored junior Anthony Osmun to give the Knights a 4-3 victory.
“I was just looking to get a hit and get something through,” Trexler said. “This feels great.”
Hoban (9-5, 5-0) committed one error and made Walsh (9-2, 4-1) pay for making five errors.
The win is Hoban’s second in a row over Walsh, whom they defeated 3-0 in a Division II district final last year. Walsh won meetings during the previous 17 seasons.
“I’m somewhat new to the rivalry,” Hoban coach Jim Diestel said. “Rivalries are nice though. It’s good to have for the kids. For 17 years they were winning, so it wasn’t really a rivalry. I feel like the other team has to win now and then for it to be a rivalry. Now we have a two-game winning streak against them, which is obviously nice.”
Hoban junior right-hander Drew Lakos relied on his curveball and fastball to toss a complete game. Lakos struck out eight, walked three, hit one and allowed two earned runs and eight hits.
“He’s got a lot of movement [on his pitches],” Diestel said of Lakos. “He’s not overpowering, but his pitches move a lot.”
Hoban loaded the bases in the eighth with no out after Osmun singled, senior Nick Corbett got hit by a pitch and sophomore A.J. Fisher walked.
Walsh right-handed relief pitcher Cassidy Brown then struck out Hoban’s next two batters before Trexler’s single.
“We got the base hit,” Diestel said. “You have to give credit to Sean. He’s having an exceptional year. He’s batting over .500.”
Walsh took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Hoban countered with two runs in the third inning to draw even at 2-2. The four runs were scored with two outs.
The Warriors got an RBI single by senior Drew Miletti in the first that scored sophomore Nate Romans, and Brown scored on an error after singling.
The Knights’ two runs in the third inning were unearned after two Warriors errors. Junior Aaron Cain reached base on an infield single and crossed the plate on an error, and junior Austin Farber singled in Trexler.
“Runs were at a premium,” Lakos said. “Two runs are a lot [to allow in an inning]. We came back in the third with two and then we came back after that with one in the sixth.”
Walsh opened the sixth inning with singles by Brown, senior Zack Leonatti and Miletti. Brown scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Anthony Nemer to give Walsh a 3-2 lead.
Hoban knotted the score at 3-3 in the sixth with another unearned run. Corbett reached on an error, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Fisher and scored on a single by junior Adam Gray.
The teams will meet again at 4:30 today at Walsh.
“This is very, very frustrating,” Walsh coach Chris Kaczmar said. “We didn’t play well. You have to tip your cap to their ability to throw strikes and capitalize on our mistakes.
“It was one of those games. Frustrating all the way around. We didn’t get the hit when we needed to, and more than that we didn’t make the play when we needed to.”
Walsh senior left-hander Michael Marsinek got a no decision after five solid innings. He struck out seven, walked one and allowed no earned runs and three hits.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.