April 17, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
63°F
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Hot Stove baseball: Gerhardinger sparks Keystone victory

WELLINGTON — Jeremy Gerhardinger had never pitched a complete game prior to Saturday — he saved his best effort for the biggest stage.

Gerhardinger went the distance while striking out eight in Keystone Vantage’s 11-8 win over the Elyria Devil Dogs in Class F action.

“After the first five innings I just tried hard to finish the game,” Gerhardinger said. “I kept telling my coach I wanted to stay because I never pitched a complete game before. I wasn’t nervous because I knew we had a pretty big lead. I just knew I had to go back out there and throw strikes.”

Gerhardinger fanned two of Elyria’s final three batters to put an exclamation point on
the win.

“Jeremy pitched an awesome game. He threw strikes and did what he needed to do out there,” Keystone coach Dennis Gerhardinger said. “There were some defense mistakes today, but the defense also made some big plays. Everybody hit the ball well. It was a total team effort.”

Keystone (5-12) took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first with the help of doubles by
Logan Rising and Justin Able. Two innings later, Keystone extended its lead to 5-2 only to see the Devil Dogs answer with four runs in the top of the fourth to take a 6-5 lead.

Keystone took control of the game in the fifth inning when Darion Putnam and Matthew Bloch each singled to drive in a pair of runs.

“I was sitting there thinking, ‘Oh my gosh,’ because the pitch before I swung at a ball that was really high then I saw the next pitch coming and I was like, ‘That’s a strike right there,’ and I just turned on it,” Putnam said.

With a roster comprised of mostly 13-year-olds playing in the 14-year-old division, coach Gerhardinger said his team’s record is somewhat deceiving.

“We told the kids in practice the other night that the tournament is a new season and we start out 0-0 again,” he said. “I’ve seen the team improve all season. I moved us up to challenge the kids and we took our lumps for a while, but next year look out for this team.”

Before looking ahead to next season, Keystone will have its sights set on today when it faces Midview North Cavanaugh at 3 p.m. Putnam thinks there might be at least one more week to play in the 2013 season.

“We came here, got pumped up and were motivated to win today,” Putnam said. “(Today) we will have even more confidence and we will be ready to play again.”

Jacob Thompson, Michael Pandy and Jarett Walker all scored two runs for Elyria.

Class E: Elyria Lorain National Bank 6, North Ridgeville Rays 4

Pitcher Steve Poskocil came on in relief to pitch out of a fourth-inning jam and two innings later Dakota Justin delivered a single that scored a pair of runs as Elyria Lorain National Bank rallied to defeat the North Ridgeville Rays at Wellington Community Park.

“We knew it was going to be a nip-and-tuck game,” Elyria coach Steve Thompson said. “It was a one-run game the last time we played them. We knew they were a good team, but I also felt like we have a good team and we showed that today.

“We’ve struggled with our hitting this season, but we always seem to have one good inning.”

With the Rays leading 4-2, Elyria closed to within one when Deric Martin’s infield single scored Liam McMillian, setting the stage for Justin’s two-out single down the right-field line that scored both Martin and Zack Rosenkotter. Elyria added another run in the seventh on Vince Myers’ RBI single that scored Joseph Zuckerman.

“They had their game last time, we needed to get them this time,” Justin said. “We had to keep our heads in the game, pick each other up and do what we needed to do to win the game. We’re a good team when we play together.”

Poskocil, who is described by his coach as the team’s power pitcher, started the game at catcher before coming out from behind the plate to relieve Zuckerman. Poskocil limited the damage in the fourth and held the Rays scoreless the rest of the way, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

“I know coach has confidence in me to throw strikes, so I was confident coming in what was a tough situation,” Poskocil said. “I go out there with the mindset of this is summer baseball so just have fun, but to be able to pay them back for a big loss earlier in the year really means a lot to us.”

Elyria Lorain National Bank (8-7) advances to the regionals next Saturday at Grafton.
Ryan Blotzer threw a complete game for North Ridgeville.

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Class E (age 15-18)

Lorain Titans 5, Alliance Midlake Knights 0
Elyria Lorain National Bank 6, North Ridgeville Rays 4

Class EE (age 15-16)

Vermilion Sailors 19, Buckeye Wolff Brothers 7
Rootstown Nightwine Prod. 7, Oberlin Ultimate Landscape 0

Class F (age 14)

Keystone Vantage 11, Elyria Devils Dogs 8

Class FF (age 13)

Medina Indians 12, Sheffield Wildcats 3
Columbia Scott’s Party Rental 16, Buckeye Mack’s 5
Lorain Cyclones 21, Keystone Marco’s Pizza 4

Class G (age 12)

Buckeye MTD 10, Wellington Stampede 9
Sheffield Hitmen, Grafton Singleton Heating and Air Conditioning 3
Firelands Firebirds 7, Medina Rangers 0
Vermilion DRD Wildcats 12, Buckeye Keller Meats 2
Medina Sharks 30, North Ridgeville R. Hammond Construction 19
Columbia Jakobsky Plumbing 11, North Olmsted Orange Leader Lighting 5

Class H (age 10)

Wellington Rampage 7, Spencer Clifford Construction 1
Vermilion Impact 11, Keystone A L C O 10
Buckeye Young Bucks 11, Midview North Wayne Homes 5

Class HH (age 9)

Grafton Marco’s 15, North Ridgeville Red Sox 1
Columbia Jake’s 252 Garage 17, Buckeye Gizmo’s 15
South Amherst/Firelands 18, Olmsted Falls #1 16
Buckeye Carter Lumber 18, Amherst Panthers 8
North Ridgeville Bullfrogs 7, Grafton G L W B 0
Wellington Dukes 13, Midview North Eaton Fire & Rescue 12
Keystone Kinkaid Kallers 18, Olmsted Falls #2 5
Keystone Hot Stove 14, Medina Swarm 4
Farm Major: North Ridgeville Aquatic Dreams 5, Medina Vipers 1