September 30, 2014

Elyria
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Denny’s Dozen delivers again

ELYRIA — Denny’s Dozen turned on the power button Sunday afternoon and zapped Ryan-St. Marie Insurance 12-7 at North Park. It was the second straight title for the team from Elyria North Little League but first at this level.
Denny’s Dozen won the Majors city championship Sunday, following its city title in Minor A last summer. Two-for-two isn’t bad for manager and team sponsor Denny Szalai, who named the team after himself. The dozen refers to the normal roster size, although only 10 were available to play on Sunday. 
The team from North slammed three doubles, two triples and two homers to blast Ryan-St. Marie of the Elyria East Little League program. Ryan-St. Marie was city Majors champion in 2004. The middle of the lineup had nine hits, four by Danny Ratliff, three by Bobby Gavalek and two by Hunter Parsh.
Despite all the hitting, Szalai thought there was another reason his team won.
“We had our thinking caps on today,” he said. “They swung at quality pitches. Everything we do is based on fundamentals and discipline. Baseball is 50 percent mental and 50 percent physical. We won because we played disciplined baseball.”
Matt St. Marie, the opposing manager, agreed North’s power wasn’t the key.
“We put seven runners on base with walks and five of them scored,” he said. “Those walks hurt us more than the long ball. Walks killed us. I also thought when we were at bat we were too aggressive at the plate. If we had worked the count more, we’d have had a better chance.”
Denny’s Dozen’s stars were elated.
“It feels really good to be a winner,” said Ratliff, who wasn’t on the team last year. “I’ve been on losing teams the last several years.”
Where was the pitch he sent over the left-field fence in the fifth?
“It was a change-up right at my belly button,” he said. “It was my second homer this year.”
Gavalek also wasn’t on the team last year.
“This was my first championship,” he said. “It feels great. This was my best game of the year. On my homer, I hit a fastball low.”
It was his third home run of the season.
Denny Szalai, the manager’s son, pitched the last three innings in relief of starter and winner Ratliff. Szalai was so excited that when Ryan-St. Marie’s last batter stepped to the plate in the sixth he began jumping up and down on the mound.
“I was really pumped up,” he said.
Despite Ryan-St. Marie scoring three runs in the fifth to cut the deficit to 11-7, Szalai said he wasn’t worried.
“I was confident we’d hold on to win,” he said.
North broke the game open with a five-run third as Gavalek’s drive over the fence was preceded by a walk and doubles by Parsh and Ratliff.  Parsh also had a triple in the first to drive in Denny’s first run. The team never trailed.
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.
  
Denny’s    ab    r    h    bi    St. Marie    ab    r    h    bi
Szalai    4    1    1    0    Higley    2    1    0    0
Victor    3    1    0    1    Szuch    2    0    0    0
Parsh    4    2    2    2    Owen    1    0    0    0
Ratliff    4    3    4    3    Stewart    3    2    3    0
Gavalek    3    2    3    2    Kovacs    4    0    2    2
Corley    3    0    0    0    Lester    4    1    1    0
Schaefer    3    1    1    0    Shultz    3    2    1    1
Carosella    1    1    0    1    Plues    2    1    0    0
Parker    2    0    1    1    Klingshirn    1    0    0    0
Galloway    3    1    1    0    Robertson    0    0    0    0
                    Hallstead    1    0    0    0
                    Kozel    3    0    1    3
Totals    30    12    13    10    Totals    26    7    8    6
Denny’s    205        311        —    12    13    2
St. Marie    101        230        —    7    8    2
Batteries— Ratliff, Szalai and Corley,Kovacs, Kosel, Higley and Higley, Lester; 2B— Stewart, Parsh, Ratliff 2; 3B— Parsh, Gavalek; HR— Ratliff, Gavalek; SB— Ratliff; DP— Szuch to Kosel to Shultz; SAC— Higley, Corley; E— Parsh, Gavalek, Stewart, Plues; LOB— North 7, East 8.
Pitchers    ip    h    r    er    bb    so
Ratliff (W)    3    2    4    4    5    4
Szalai    3    6    3    3    1    2
Kovacs (L)    2    7    6    6    2    1
Kozel    1    2    3    3    4    1
Higley    3    4    2    1    1    1
WP— Kovacs, Ratliff 2; PB— Higley, Lester.