LORAIN — The Lorain County Ironmen did about everything they could to stay in Saturday’s game with the West Virginia Miners. But in the end, their lack of timely hitting was their demise in a 2-1 setback.
Lorain County managed just four hits, only one off starter Devin Einhardt. West Virginia won its fifth straight game to improve to 17-12. Lorain County fell to 11-18, with its second straight one-run loss and seventh setback in the last 10 games.
Starter Zachary LaRocca took the loss for Lorain County. He scattered seven hits and worked out of a no-out jam with a runner on third to keep the deficit at 2-0. He didn’t walk a batter and had two strikeouts.
Right fielder Scott Splett drove in Lorain County’s lone run, plating Anthony Nemer with a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
“We got back (from Chillicothe) kind of late last night. It’s kind of a grind, but we went out there and competed,” Splett said. “Things just didn’t go our way.”
The Ironmen wasted their best other scoring chance in the third inning.
Issac Smith and Tyler Bires moved to second and third on Billy Salem’s groundout, but Splett ended the threat by striking out on a full count.
“We tried to hang in there,” Splett said. “Once we got to their bullpen, we just tried to get as many players to the plate that we could. Their starter (Einhardt) located well and kept us off balance. When we were looking for the fastball, he’d throw a curveball or slider in the dirt. We helped him out a little too much.”
LaRocca’s only mistake of the night came in the fourth inning. He served up catcher Robert Tavone’s one-out, solo home run to left field with one out. It proved to be the game-winner.
“We keep have to keep trying to find a way to get that clutch hit and stay solid on defense,” said Splett, “just the little things. We just have to play hard every day. We just have to put this one behind us.”
West Virginia scored its first run in the third inning on third baseman Zach Woolcock’s two-out RBI single that barely eluded the glove of shortstop Ryan Leffel.
It scored left fielder Kaeo Aliviado from third. Aliviado advanced to third on flyball to Smith in center field by designated hitter Pat Kregeloh. Aliviado reached on a one-out single and took second on a wild pitch.
“Their pitcher (Einhardt) threw an excellent game,” said Ironmen manager Joe Rhomberg. “He had a good fastball, a good slider. Our hitters said he had a good arm angle and he was hiding it pretty well.
“We faced him one other time, but it was only for an inning. He looked like a different pitcher out there. He had a lot more command of the zone. He really had us worried about his fastball, I think too much. We didn’t sit enough on his slider and go with it. LaRocca gave us a chance to win. He has three good pitches and did a nice job despite the fact they had five lefties batting in their line-up. He pretty much shut them down other than hanging that one curveball. Other than that, they scrapped for that one run.”