September 20, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
83°F
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High school baseball: Triple play gives Elyria a lift, helps salvage split with Avon Lake

ELYRIA — There was nothing typical about Saturday’s doubleheader at George Day Field.

Two come-from-behind wins, four double plays the hard way and even a triple play highlighted action in temperatures more fitting for hockey than baseball.

Elyria and Avon Lake split the day but getting to that point was the fun part unless you one of the coaches involved.

The Shoremen came from a 10-1 deficit to win the opener, 14-11, while the Pioneers spotted Avon Lake a 4-0 lead before hanging on for dear life in an 8-7 victory in the second game.

“First one was as unusual as it gets,” Avon Lake coach Kevin Marlow said. “We get down big but we find a way to chip back in it. Our first guy out there (pitcher Matt Morissette) didn’t have it and got rocked.

“We brought in Logan DeLong and he was absolutely fabulous.”

“We beat ourselves,” Elyria coach Ed Piazza said of the first game. “If we throw strikes and make the easy plays, we’d have come out of here 2-0 today.

“Basically, it was a 10-run lead we couldn’t hold. We just extended innings.”

Elyria (5-5) pounded out eight runs on seven hits in the bottom of the first — a two-run home run by Chris Emerson and a three-run bomb by Jacob Csizmadia doing the most damage.

DeLong came in to start the second inning and although he wasn’t effective to start, settled in and shut down Elyria’s attack.

“I just tried to get as many balls in the dirt (groundballs) as possible and let our defense make plays,” said DeLong, a left-hander who had thrown just four innings prior to Saturday.

It certainly worked. After giving up two runs on two walks and a hit by Csizmadia, DeLong got out of the jam when Tony Pierce got caught in a rundown after drifting off second base a bit too far after a Brad Conley flyout.

Elyria scored only once after that as DeLong finished by retiring 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced.

Meanwhile, as Marlow said, Avon Lake chipped away at the deficit — getting five runs in the third, two in the fourth and four in the fifth capped by a three-run blast by Brad Hamilton.

“We really started to put together some really good innings,” said Hamilton, who has five homers on the year and 15 runs batted in.

Elyria’s defense thwarted the Shoremen in the second game. The Pioneers pulled off two double plays and a rare triple play as well. The gems started in the first game, providing a glimpse of what was to come.

The double plays were not routine by any means.

Center fielder Brendon Koziura tracked down a Matt Russell line drive in the first inning of the first game to keep Avon Lake from scoring more than the one run it got. He turned it into a double play by erasing Morrisette at second when he took off running on Russell’s shot.

In the second game, Emerson, playing shortstop, started a typical force play to second baseman Mike Izzarelli, who fired a strike to catcher Brendon Stewart to nail Brian Moracz to end the second inning.

In the third inning, Emerson grabbed a hard shot off Jeremiah Campo’s bat and turned it into a double play by beating Enzo Forlina back to the bag at second. But it was Izzarelli’s play in the fifth that had everybody buzzing.

With runners on first and second, Moracz ripped a shot right at Izzarelli as both Logan Montague and Cole Rosmarin took off running from second and first, respectively. Izzarelli tagged second base to retire Montague and fired a throw to K.J. Allgood at first to retire Rosmarin.

“No, sir,” said Izzarelli when asked if he’d ever been involved in a triple play. “I can’t even say I might have seen one. I saw it coming right at me and I knew I was going to tag second. I looked toward first and even our first baseman, K.J. Allgood, said my face just lit up. I almost got so excited I almost threw it away. He had a really good stretch at first.”

Izzarelli’s bat that helped as well. His two-run shot to deep left-center left the yard to give Elyria its last two runs in a five-run second inning that erased a 4-0 Shoremen lead.

With two on, Emerson ended Avon Lake’s three-run, rally in the seventh with a diving stop of a grounder by Kyle Beck that appeared headed to left field that might have driven in the tying run.

Instead, Emerson, forced pinch-runner Matt Gotchall at third to end the game.

Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or  timothygeb@msn.com.