July 30, 2014

Elyria
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High school baseball: Steven Frye’s Pipe Yard power surge leads Midview past Lorain

LORAIN — The Pipe Yard has never been considered a hitter’s park. The fences are deep and the ball never seems to carry … especially in the damp spring air.

Midview designated hitter Steven Frye probably wonders what all the fuss is about.

Frye became the first batter in Pipe Yard history to hit multiple home runs in a sanctioned game, connecting for a pair of blasts off Lorain starter Adrian Calez in the Middies’ 7-4 win Friday.

Frye hit the first pitch he saw, a low, inside fastball, well over the left-field fence to lead off the second inning and give Midview a 1-0 lead. The next inning, he rifled a 1-0 Calez fastball over the fence in left-center for a three-run blast to make the score 4-0.

He added an RBI double in the fifth, then picked up the save by striking out the side on 12 pitches in the seventh as the Middies improved to 12-5.

“I tried to put it up the middle and just let it go,” Frye said of his first home run. “The wind was kind of behind me, but I still put a pretty good shot on it.”

Midview coach Scott Jalowiec was hoping not to have to use Frye, his closer, on the mound because the Middies have a tough week in front of them.

However, he didn’t want to watch the game slip away either.

“I didn’t want to bring Steven in in a non-conference situation, but the way our defense was playing I wasn’t 100 percent with these guys,” he said. “You could tell it was our fourth game in five days. Our guys were kind of nonchalant, and Brad’s team was, too.

“I didn’t want this game to get away from us. I know how Lorain can hit, and the runs they can put up. Will it bite me later in the week? I don’t know. He’s my catcher and, hopefully, he rebounds. We have a doubleheader (today) and he’s going to catch one of those games, then we have three tough conference games next week.

“Unfortunately, I did what I had to do to get a win and we’ll see how things go next week.”

The Middies led 7-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Midview starting pitcher Ben Millam was cruising, allowing just two hits and an unearned run to that point.

That’s when his defense started to let him down and allow the Titans (12-7) to claw back into the game.

A pair of errors in the fifth led to two Lorain runs. It could have been worse, but Millam got Nic Billingsley to ground out to first with the bases loaded to end the inning.

“It’s tough when you’re out there throwing your guts out, getting the ground balls you’re supposed to get, and the guys aren’t making the plays,” Jalowiec said. “That shows a lot of intestinal stuff that he’s got. Sometimes kids fall apart if their defense isn’t helping them out.

They fall apart and try to do it themselves.

“He continued to pound the strike zone and give his defense another chance. Fortunately the guys came through on those second chances.”

Lorain had chances, but left 11 on base.

“We couldn’t get the key hit when we needed it,” Titans coach Brad Ternes said. “We put guys in scoring position and had guys on base all day. We just couldn’t come through with the clutch hit when we had the opportunity.”

Calez, who took the loss, struck out five in five innings. Only three of the seven runs he allowed were earned. Other than the pair of mistakes to Frye, he effectively kept the Midview hitters off-balance by changing speeds and spotting his pitches.

The two mistakes to Frye, though, were fatal.

“You have to tip your cap to him on the home runs … on both of them,” he said. “This is not a banjo box. If a guy hits one out he earns it. It really doesn’t matter if the wind is blowing out.”

Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or macsportstalk@gmail.com.