BOARDMAN — Facing a deficit of a baker’s dozen plus one, the Riverside baseball team sent its lineup to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning against Kennedy just looking for a spark Tuesday. They needed a Hollywood fiction for the Pirates to come back and win.
That didn’t happen, but the Pirates (3-7) mounted their best offensive inning of the game before eventually giving in to a 14-2 finish in a run-rule shortened contest.
With one man on, Evan Keefer slugged a triple to the right field corner before Trevor Graff batted him home with a single of his own. It was no victory, Keefer said, but there was something a little sweet in avoiding that kind of shutout.
It was the bright moment in an otherwise dark outing, standing out like the bright blue trim of the Pirates’ uniforms against Tuesday’s ominous dark sky.
Kennedy (8-1) opened the game with a five-run first, but only one hit contributed to that. Graff struggled pitching, throwing 50 pitches in the inning and wouldn’t make it out of the second.
The Trojans scored four runs on one swing by Sam Moreno, who hit a grand slam.
“Coach (Kevin Moffatt) told me don’t think about a home run, just a line drive,” Moreno said. “Well it was a line drive that just kept going and next thing I knew it was over the fence.”
Moreno came to bat with the bases loaded in the next two innings as well but couldn’t recreate the Grand Slam Sam magic. He said he got a little ahead of himself and struck out swinging both times.
The only other real scoring threat for the Pirates ended on a ground-out, double play with Keefer trying to advance home. He was gunned down at the plate by first baseman Ty Sawyer in the third inning.
The Trojans got the best of Riverside for the third time in five days. The teams played in Boardman twice last week as well. Kennedy won those contests by a combined score of 24-9.
“We’ve got to play good baseball the whole day just to keep the score close and be in there at the end of a game,” Riverside coach John Christy said. “They got ahead of us early and we struggled to stay in the game for ourselves.”
WESTON-McEWEN 23, RIVERSIDE 12 — Later on Tuesday in Boardman, the Pirates hosted Weston-McEwen (3-1) in a game full of scoring and exhausted pitchers.
Three or four games in two days left both teams short on arms, Weston-McEwen coach T.J. Haguewood said. The TigerScots were forced to go back to pitchers used earlier in the game and earlier in the day to finish out the contest. Riverside stuck with starter Kenny Gisi for multiple innings despite a 10-2 hole simply because they needed to chew up innings.
“We had to throw our starter (Calvin Thacker) back in and he was throwing on fumes but we really didn’t have anybody else,” Haguewood said.
The TigerScots jumped out to an initial lead but couldn’t maintain the blowout proportions for long. Riverside pushed across five and four runs apiece in the fourth and fifth inning to cut the score to 14-11.
Elliot Salter went 4-for-5 for the TigerScots out of the leadoff position with a triple and two doubles. Jared Bond knocked in four runs and also scored four times on three hits and a walk. Nick Pease hit a pair of doubles.
For Riverside, Evan Keffer again had a good game at the plate with four hits and three RBIs.