ELYRIA — Jacob Csizmadia turned his worst game into his most memorable one Thursday afternoon.
With Elyria trailing Midview by two runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Csizmadia blasted a walk-off grand slam to beat the Middies 6-4 in non-conference action.
The Pioneers (8-13) opened the last inning down 4-0.
Csizmadia wasn’t having much of a game at the plate or in the field up to that point. Before his heroics, the Pioneers shortstop was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, while also committing four errors, including three in a row in the sixth inning.
“I knew if I got the opportunity, I was going to come back in and end it,” Csizmadia said. “Coach (Ed) Piazza gave me the chance because he has faith in me. I kept my composure and I went up there with an approach to hit the ball hard.”
While Piazza had replaced Csizmadia at short in the top of the seventh, he re-entered him with the bases loaded in the bottom half.
Midview starting pitcher Dylan Brister, who threw 129 pitches, had a three-hit shutout with six strikeouts going into the seventh before walking the first two batters he faced.
After getting the next two outs, including a strikeout, Brister walked the next batter before Zack Rosenkoetter kept the game alive with a two-run single to make it 4-2.
“We just had to keep our heads up in the dugout,” Rosenkoetter said. “I changed my approach at the plate in the seventh so I could get a hit and he gave me a fastball right down the middle.”
Midview (9-10) then brought in closer Cody Callaway and he was able to coax a slow ground ball to short by Brandon Koziura that could’ve ended the game, but Koziura was able to beat it out for an infield hit to keep the game going and reload the bases.
That set up Csizmadia, who had promised his teamhe would make up for his mistakes with his bat.
He kept his promise.
After fouling the first pitch off the catcher’s helmet, Csizmadia focused in, read the next pitch and promptly blasted it deep over the left-field fence.
“I knew he was going to throw me a fastball,” Csizmadia said. “As soon as I saw him smile, I knew he was going to throw a fastball and try to blow it past me. Once I hit it, I knew it was a home run. I flipped the bat and knew it was gone.”
Midview grabbed a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Dylan Steindl in the third inning and added another in the fourth on a RBI single by Zac Wilson.
The Middies made it 4-0 in the sixth inning after Tyler Lienerth scored from third on a wild pitch by Marques Inman and a sacrifice fly by Zack Nash.
Piazza couldn’t have been happier with the outcome or that Csizmadia had the game-winning blow.
After all, his team has been the victim of seven one-run losses this season, including a few of the walk-off variety.
“I believe in Csizmadia as that hitter,” Piazza said. “He loses it sometimes. He wants to be perfect all the time. He’s hitting over .500 for a reason. I didn’t hesitate when his spot came back up that he was going back in.
“It’s nice to be on the other side of these kind of games. These kids are deserving. We’ve lost a lot of tough ones this season.”
Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.