LORAIN — It wasn’t the start to the second half of the Prospect League season Lorain County had in mind.
A chaotic first inning in which the Ironmen allowed six runs before West Virginia hit a ball out of the infield left Lorain County in too deep of a hole Monday and the Ironmen fell 11-8 on a sultry night at The Pipe Yard.
Lorain County starter Jose Flores didn’t have his best stuff, walking six and allowing seven hits over four innings, but it was series of unusual circumstances early on that derailed his evening.
Flores walked the first two batters before Miners center fielder David Martinelli beat out a well-placed bunt down the third-base line to load the bases. With one out, third baseman Mike Brosseau hit a hard grounder up the middle that looked like it could be an inning-ending double play.
Instead, the ball hit umpire Lance Seilhamer, allowing Brosseau to reach first with an RBI single on umpire interference. The next batter, Griffin Moore, hit a line drive off Flores’ thigh to drive in another run.
An error and two RBI singles later, the Miners had sent 13 batters to the plate and led 7-0.
“Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong in the first inning,” Lorain County manager Joe Rhomberg said. “I was a little disappointed we came out flat. It seemed like we lost our focus in the first two innings.”
Lorain County (11-17) answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, the hit big coming off the bat of Taylor Emody, who drove in Cody Semler with a triple to center. Emody had three of the Ironmen’s six hits.
An inning later, Lorain County scored five runs to tie the game and send West Virginia starter Seth Noreman to an early shower. Lorain native and Coker College junior Tyler Biers doubled down the left-field line to drive in the game-tying runs.
“We made it a game,” Rhomberg said. “We tied it twice after we fell behind. The funny thing is, in the first half of the year our pitching has been our strength.”
West Virginia (18-12) won its ninth straight game by pounding out 16 hits, taking advantage of three Ironmen errors and eight walks. Dalton Thompson pitched the final 7⅓ innings to earn the win for the Miners.
Each team scored a run in the fourth inning before the Miners took the lead for good an inning later when Grant Massey singled home Taylor Kellner. Lorain County was held hitless over the final five innings.
Monday’s game was the first of a stretch in which the Ironmen will play 11 of their next 15 games at The Pipe Yard to start the second half of the season.
“It’s kind of a new season for us,” Rhomberg said. “We’ve been looking forward to this stretch since we knew we were eliminated in the first half, so to come out the way we did tonight was a little disappointing. But I like our team. We have just as much talent as any other team this year. If we get a break here or there I think we can really get going.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.