KENT -- The Tallmadge baseball team enjoyed its season-opening trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
However, that trip, provided only a brief respite from the cold, rainy reality that is high school baseball in Northeast Ohio in early spring.
Blue Devils head coach Kenny Linn noted his team was feeling good about itself after going 3-1 in South Carolina against some solid competition.
The trip included an 11-0 win over Kingsport (Tenn.) and a 10-3 win over Gemantown Academy (Pa). March 30, as well as an 8-2 loss to Peters Township (Pa.) March 31.
But, As Linn noted, this game can humble you.
Playing perhaps its best game of the young season, Kent Roosevelt played clean baseball en route to a 4-3 win over Tallmadge April 4 at Roosevelt Park.
However, the Blue Devils hosted the Rough Riders April 5 at Dave Young Field and rebounded with an 8-2 win.
Tallmadge's record stood at 6-2 overall and 1-1 in the Suburban League National Conference as of press time.
"We've played a meat grinder of an early schedule," Roosevelt coach Mike Haney said April 4. "I think this league is really tough. When you throw strikes and don't make errors, you have a chance to win every time."
"We didn't execute," Linn said. "We made some poor decisions on the base paths. We were outplayed. We were outcoached. That's what happens when you think you're good and you don't show up every day."
Haney noted his team gave up two many free passes the previous week against Aurora, but Rough Riders' starting pitcher James Rubin (1-1) gave up just one walk in five innings of work.
Tallmadge started well, as shortstop Phil Glasser singled and Seth Gergely reached on a bunt single. However, an attempted double steal saw Glasser caught in a rundown between third and home and eventually tagged out.
"We ran into two outs on the base paths," Linn said. "The out in the first inning was a stupid decision. But that's on me."
Gergely scored on a ground out from pitcher Zach Boyd.
Roosevelt got the run right back in the bottom of the first. With two outs, shortstop Riley Day singled and first baseman Phil Kaderle was hit by a pitch. Center fielder Dean Gray then hit a run-scoring single to make it 1-1.
The Blue Devils got the lead back in the top of the third. Glasser smacked a two-out double to right-center, which was followed by a run-scoring single by Gergely.
Down 2-1, the Rough Riders found another answer in the bottom of the third.
Left fielder Nathan Ritchey singled and Day walked. After a wild pitch, Kaderle hit a two-run single to make it 3-2 Roosevelt after three innings.
Tallmadge tied the game in the fifth with the biggest hit of the day, as catcher Rich Eyre belted a solo home run over the fence in left.
That would be it for the Blue Devils' offense, though, as Rubish picked up the win by going five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits with one strikeout.
"We limited the damage all day," Haney said.
Once again, Roosevelt answered.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ritchey hit an infield single. That hit spelled the end for Boyd (1-1), who went 4-1/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits with five strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter.
Linn indicated he felt Boyd was not getting the strike calls he deserved.
"He showed a lot of maturity, but every kid is going to get frustrated in that situation," Linn said. "He just kept pounding the strike zone."
However, Ritchey went to third on two wild pitches by Tallmadge reliever Mikah McGlaughlin. Day then hit a sacrifice fly to deep left, allowing Ritchey to score.
Boyd tried to get the Blue Devils back in it with a leadoff single in the sixth, but he was picked off by Rough Riders' freshman reliever Zach Common.
Common then retired the final five batters he faced in order to pick up the save.
"We've just got to get better," Linn said.
In game two, Tallmadge did get better, as it got a solid pitching performance from junior Jared Burick.
Burick struck out nine batters in six innings and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing a double. Senior Josh Taylor got the final three outs on the mound.
At the plate, Glasser had a single, a triple and 2 runs batted in, Gergely had two singles and two RBIs, Boyd had two singles and an RBI and Taylor had two singes and two RBIs.
The Blue Devils were scheduled to host Cleveland St. Ignatius April 8 at Dave Young Field. Results were not available at press time.
Tallmadge is set to entertain American Conference rival Copley April 10 before visiting Copley April 11. The Blue Devils are scheduled to visit American Conference foe Barberton April 13. All three games are set to begin at 4:30 p.m.
Tallmadge is scheduled to play Canton GlenOak at the Cancer Awareness Classic April 14 at Kent State University. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.