Brooke’s bats come alive to top Riders

WEIRTON – A 15-hit offensive barrage that included a grand slam home run and two other dingers propelled Brooke to a convincing 18-4 win over homestanding Weir High Tuesday at Ed Bowman Field.

In winning its 15th game in 22 starts, the Bruins scored early and often in a game that was concluded by the 10-run mercy rule in five innings. By the third inning, the Bruins scored 17 runs and tacked on another in the top of the fifth.

“We hit the ball real well today,” said victorious coach Ron Ujcich. “We’ve been working very hard in the batting cage – taking a lot of extra reps, especially during last week when the weather kept us indoors. We were down so we spent a lot of extra time hitting and I think it paid off for us tonight.”

Aaron Walker was the beneficiary of the huge offensive display and he helped his own cause with a two-run homer over the left field fence in the second inning.

Walker’s long tater put an end to Michael Curtis’ day on the mound. He took the loss, yielding 11 runs and seven hits while striking out two and walking a pair.

“Brooke is a very good hitting team,” said first-year Red Rider coach Jason Angle, whose team now is 4-11. “They have a lot of pop in their bats with some big, strong kids. You can tell they work hard in the off-season.

“On our side, we let way too many fast balls go by and just were not aggressive. We got ourselves in a hole, but there is no excuse for the errors and especially the mental mistakes in the game. Physical stuff is going to happen at any level, but the mental stuff has got to go away.

“And it’s nothing that we haven’t been preaching and even showing them physically and working on situations. I was disappointed today.”

Walker pitched the first four innings. He gave up three runs with five hits, struck out three and walked two. Russell Schwertfeger mopped up in the bottom of the fifth inning giving up a run and one hit, an RBI double to the left field corner by Curtis.

The Bruins opened the game with the first five batters hitting the ball hard and scoring.

Schwertfeger was safe on an error, one of two Weir High miscues in the first inning and four in the game. Kealen Welch followed with a single to center field and veteran shortstop Heath Hildreth blasted a three-run home run over the left field fence on the first pitch he saw.

Chad Harper walked, stole second and raced home on Nick Ossman’s single up the middle. Ossman stole second and scored on Justin Loughrie’s hit. Loughrie also swiped second and scored on a hit by Fargo Camerlango.

The Bruins made it 10-0 with four more runs in the second inning. The big hit was Walker’s homer.

The Red Rider bats came alive in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Curtis ripped a single to center field. He went to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch. After designated hitter, Jordan Allen walked, the Brooke infield had trouble with freshman Jake Rosnick’s grounder. Curtis scored and both Allen and Rosnick were safe on the play.

Jake Wypasek’s liner to left field loaded the bases. Allen scored when freshman Michael Mills grounded out to third base and Rosnick went home on a Kody Knight single to right field.

“Today probably wasn’t Walker’s best day,” Ujcich admitted. “He fought through it and threw strikes. He got the outs and that’s what’s important in a game like this. You’re going to have your best stuff some days and other days you have to go out there and be a fighter. You have to fight your way through it and Aaron did a good job of that today.”

Brooke’s biggest run barrage came when they scored seven in the top of the third inning. Schwertfeger walked and later scored as the Bruins loaded the bases. Angle brought Chris Russell in to pitch and Ossman drilled his first pitch high over the center field fence for a grand slam.

Ujcich was pleased with the play of his defense, which committed just one error.

“Our defense was solid today and we have been the past few games,” he said. “We’ve been staying focused, stressing to the kids one pitch, one inning, one out. You have to take it pitch-by-pitch, stay focused for that pitch and make the plays when they’re presented to you. I think we’ve been doing a lot better job of that.”

The Bruins will play Oak Glen today at 7 p.m. at Consol Energy Park in Washington, Pa.

Meanwhile, the Red Riders will return to action at Madonna at Ed Bowman Field at 7 p.m. Thursday in the annual city championship game. That game will be senior night for both the Red Riders and Blue Dons.

Brooke 18, Weir High 4

Brooke 647 01 – 18 15 1

Weir High 030 01 – 4 6 4

BROOKE (15-7): Walker (WP, 3K, 2BB), Schwertfeger (5th, 2K) and Harper. Ossman S, HR, 5RBI, 3R; Hildreth HR, 2S, 3RBI, 3R, SB; Welch 2S, 3R, RBI; Sole s, R; Harper 2S, RBI, 2R; Camerlango 2S, 2RBI; Lombardi S, RBI, R; Walker HR, 2RBI, 2R; Loughrie S, SB, R.

WEIR HIGH (4-11): Curtis (LP, 2K, 2BB), Anderson (2nd, 0K, 0BB), Russell (3rd, 3K, 2BB) and McCartney, Curtis (2nd). Curtis S, 2B, RBI, R; Knight s, RBI; Viakely 2B, R; Larch S; Wypasek S; Rosnick RBI, R.