Knights slip past Bruins
WELLSBURG – Despite being out hit, Toronto took advantage of five Brooke errors and added a few timely hits to top the home standing Bruins 5-3 Thursday.
Brooke junior Heath Hildreth scattered five hits to keep his Bruins in the game, but a couple of defensive breakdowns were costly.
It was just the opposite for Toronto’s senior right hander, Brad Melville, who gave up eight hits. The difference was Toronto’s defense came through when he needed them including double plays in the third and seventh innings to get him out of jams.
“It was just a well-played and hard-fought game by both teams,” said Toronto coach, Brian Perkins, whose club advanced its record to 16-1 and won its fifth straight. “We had a couple of errors, but were fortunate enough to score runs when we needed them.”
On the other hand, Brooke seemed to hit the ball right at the Toronto defenders in key situations, but that is baseball, according the veteran Bruin coach, Ron Ujcich.
“That’s the second game in a row that Hildreth has thrown a great game for us,” Ujcich said. “He throws strikes and he knows that he’s not out there to strike people out. He’s out there to throw strikes and let the defense play behind him.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t make plays behind him and that hurt us. We put the ball in play, but there were a couple of situations there where we had runners in scoring position and we needed a base hit. We didn’t get it, but that’s the nature of baseball. But a few base hits there and we put a few more runs on the board, it could have been a different result.”
Toronto got on the board in the first inning with leadoff batter, Blaze Glenn, a freshman, working Hildreth for a walk, one of only two that he yielded in the game. Glenn stole second and with two outs scored when Brooke misplayed a ground ball.
The Red Knights made it 3-0 in the third. Chez Glenn got a one-out single to center and Tyler Owens followed by getting on board when Brooke misplayed his infield roller. Both of them scored on Melville’s single to center.
Brooke got to within one run in the bottom of the fourth when Hildreth drew a leadoff walk followed by Russ Schwertfeger’s second hit of the game. Hildreth scored on a Red Knight error and Matt Mazzone drove Schwertfeger home with a single to left field.
The Red Knights used sacrifice bunts to set up single runs in the sixth and seventh innings that proved to be the game winners.
In the sixth, Owens singled to left field, Mellville bunted him to second and he scored when John Romey laced a double down the left field line.
Catcher Bill Solomon reached on a Brooke error in the top of the seventh was sacrificed to second by John Marriner’s bunt and scored from third base on another Brooke miscue.
“I was proud of the little things the kids did tonight that you don’t see in the newspaper,” Perkins said. “Things like kids running down the first base line at full speed, legging out hits and forcing bad throws and kids putting down bunts. We had two of them tonight in situations that set up big runs for us. It was a team effort as the kids did a lot of the little things to get a win against a good baseball team.”
Toronto plays at noon on Saturday hosting Steubenville Catholic Central in the OVAC semifinals while Brooke’s next outing is at Linsly today and the Bruins host Cameron Saturday at noon for one game as part of Brooke’s annual Super Saturday in which all of the spring sport teams are in action on the Bruin campus.
Toronto 5, Brooke 3
Toronto 102 001 1 – 5 5 2
Brooke 000 200 1 – 3 8 5
TORONTO (16-1): Melville (WP, 3R, 8H, 6K, 3BB) and Solomon. Melville S, 2RBI; Owens 2R, S; C. Glenn S; R; Romey 2B, RBI; Antinone S.
BROOKE (3-16): Hildreth (LP, 5R, 5H, 4K, 2BB) and Harper. Welch S, 2B, R; Hildreth 3B, RBI; Schwertfeger 2S, R; Harper RBI; Mazzone S, RBI; Sole 2B.