LORAIN — After a game of miscues, mistakes and missed opportunities, Rey Carrion came through just when his team needed him the most.
The Lorain County catcher’s 11th-inning single scored Zach Ratcliff and gave the Ironmen a 4-3 win over Richmond in a Prospect League game Friday at The Pipe Yard.
Carrion’s game-winning hit — his third single of the night — came after the Ironmen were 0-for-10 with runners on third base over the first 10 innings.
“It feels good to get this win,” said Carrion, a Southview grad. “Hopefully now that the monkey is off our back we can build on it (today) and follow up with another win.”
Carrion, who’s improved his batting average to .318 with consecutive multi-hits games, had a chance to end it in the ninth. He was batting with runners on second and third and two outs, but hit a weak grounder back to the pitcher to send the game into extra innings.
“I’ve been working a lot with my coaches and keeping my foot down and seeing the ball better, and it’s really paying off,” Carrion said.
Lorain County (9-13) fell behind 2-0 in the second inning, but scored a pair of runs in the sixth to tie the game — with the runs scoring on Anthony Nemer’s sacrifice fly and a Nate Langhals single.
The Ironmen took a 3-2 lead in the seventh when Ratcliff scored on a Carrion sacrifice fly.
Brad Raley had his best start of the year for the Ironmen, allowing two unearned runs and scattering four hits over seven innings.
“Brad put us in a position to win the game tonight,” Ironmen manager Joe Rhomberg said. “He pretty much pitched seven scoreless innings and his pitch count was right around 90 and he had good command of his pitches. That’s all you can ask for from your starter.”
Michael Koltak got the win — his first of the year for Lorain County — but only after blowing a save in the ninth inning. RiverRats catcher Garrett Ruckel greeted Koltak in the ninth by drilling a home run — his first of the year — over the left field fence, to tie the game at 3.
Richmond (11-11) got a solid outing from starter Shane Bryant, who gave up one earned run on six hits over six innings.
When Lorain County wasn’t leaving runners on base — something it did 16 times — it was running into outs on the base paths. The Ironmen had a runner picked off first base, two thrown out trying to take extra bases on hits to the outfield and two more thrown out trying to score.
“I think tonight will give these guys the belief we can really win these close games,” Rhomberg said. “These are still young kids and sometimes they try to do too much in pressure situations and the result is some of the mistakes you saw tonight.”
Despite going 3-7 in its last 10 games, Lorain County has a chance to climb out of the Eastern Division cellar when Slippery Rock comes to town for a two-game series beginning tonight. The Ironmen and Sliders are both four games behind first place
Lorain County out-hit Richmond 11-10 and also had five batters hit by pitches. Both teams committed three errors.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.