September 19, 2014

Elyria
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High school baseball: Elyria Catholic keeps fighting back, finally downs Black River on big Brian Mihalo double

Elyria Catholic’s Omar Vazquez slides into second ahead of the tag by Black River second baseman Glen Crabtree. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Elyria Catholic’s Omar Vazquez slides into second ahead of the tag by Black River second baseman Glen Crabtree. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Brian Mihalo took a deep breath and dug back in.

After taking a two-strike fastball that missed the outside corner by centimeters, Mihalo lashed a two-run double down the left-field line to give Elyria Catholic a come-from-behind 11-10 win over Black River in its home opener.

Mihalo jumped on a 2-2 curveball, lashing it past third base. Lucas Redmond and Joey Begany came around to score to give the Panthers the 11-10 lead.
Senior left-hander Angelo Cruz wiggled out of trouble by striking out the final two batters to seal the win.

Elyria Catholic (2-0) came from behind three times in the game. Prior to his two-run double that gave the Panthers the lead for good, Mihalo had struck out twice. Panthers coach Bruce Lisicky actually pinch-hit Dominic Piazza for him in the fifth inning.

“Brian came back and got a big hit,” Lisicky said. “He had struck out twice and I pinch-hit for him. I put him back in and told him I have confidence in him. He had two strikes, took a close one, and knew the pitcher had to come to him because there was nowhere to put him.

“It was a good at-bat.”

The senior was thrilled his coach gave him another chance.

“I was irritated because I was oh-for-two and I really wanted to get back in there and do something,” he said.” I got another chance, which was all I wanted.”

Elyria Catholic got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning when junior left fielder Noah Bland walked, stole second, moved to third on Christian Stanziano’s ground out and scored on a wild pitch.

The Pirates (0-1) came back with four in the top of the third, on only one hit, to take a 4-1 lead. The Panthers cut the lead to 4-3 with a pair in the bottom of the third. After Black River scored one in the top of the fourth, Elyria Catholic took the lead with a six-run fifth.

Bland had a two-run double in the inning while Colt Schuler added a two-run single down the right-field line.

“We had a lot of big two-out hits,” Lisicky said. “In the fifth inning we had two outs and nobody on and ended up scoring six runs.”

The Panthers’ 9-5 lead was short-lived, however. Black River answered with five runs in the top of the sixth before Cruz relieved Stanziano with two outs and shut the door.

That set the stage for Mihalo’s game-winner.

“This was the first time we’ve been able to actually get on a baseball field,” Black River coach Dan Kopronica said. “We’ve been working indoors and a couple of times got out and played in the grass, but we have not been on a diamond yet this year. I’m proud of how they stuck together and fought back. We were ahead and got behind. Elyria Catholic had a big inning and we came right back. We fought the whole way.”

Lisicky, who started a freshman battery of Andrew Abrohamowicz on the mound and Jeremy Smith behind the plate, thought it was a typical early season game.

“It was sloppy on both sides,” he said. “If I remember right, they scored seven runs on one hit. … There were a couple of errors in there and some walks. We started a freshman pitcher and he was throwing the ball well, but I think he got rattled (after an error). He started overthrowing and getting behind.”

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

Elyria Catholic 11, Black River 10

Black River Elyria Catholic
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Andrew Vaughan 5 2 2 1 Angelo Cruz 3 1 0 0
Brock Waltz 4 2 2 0 Lukas Redmond 4 2 3 1
Glen Crabtree 3 1 1 2 Joey Begany 3 2 1 1
Tyler Sexton 5 0 0 1 Noah Bland 2 2 1 1
Nick Sas 5 1 2 1 Brian Mahilo 3 0 1 2
Sean Holley 2 0 0 1 Dominic Piazza 0 1 0 0
Colin Filak 3 1 1 1 Christian Stanziano 4 1 1 1
Ryan Sloane 1 1 1 0 Omar Vazquez 3 1 2 1
Jeremy Minnear 1 0 0 0 Colt Schuler 3 0 1 2
Kyle Petruzzi 4 2 1 0 Jeremy Smith 1 1 1 0
James Rickard 1 0 0 0
Totals 33 10 9 7 Totals 27 11 11 9
Black River 004 105 0 — 10 9 1
Elyria Catholic 012 062 X — 11 11 2
LOB—Black River 8, Elyria Catholic 3. E—Crabtree, Stanziano, Schuler. 2B—Vaughan, Begany, Bland, Mihalo, Vazquez. HBP—Sexton, Piazza, Begany. SB—Filak 2, Sloane, Crabtree, Bland, Vazquez.
Black River
IP H R ER BB SO
Tyler Sexton 2 3 3 3 3 5
Nick Sas (L, 0-1) 4 8 8 6 1 4
Elyria Catholic
Andrew Amrohamozicz 2 1⁄3 1 4 4 4 3
Aaron Vazquez 1 2⁄3 1 1 1 2 1
Christian Stanziano 1 2⁄3 5 5 3 3 1
Angelo Cruz (W, 1-0) 1 1⁄3 0 0 0 2