PENINSULA -- Flexibility is a key attribute when playing high school baseball in Northeast Ohio.

Woodridge displayed that attribute during its opening Portage Trail Conference Metro Division series against last week.

On April 3, things went as planned for Woodridge. Despite intermittent rain, the Bulldogs scored a 5-4 home win over the Ravens to open division play.

Then, after Ravenna's fields were ruled unplayable, Woodridge played a "road" game at its home field April 5 vs. Ravenna.

That may have been the least unusual thing about the contest.

In a game that had a little of everything -- including a combined 27 walks between the two pitching staffs -- Ravenna took a big early lead, lost it and fought back to force extra innings before Woodridge pulled out a 10-7 win in eight innings.

Woodridge improved to 3-1, 2-0 in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division.

Woodridge coach Dennis Dever was pleased with the result and resolve of his team, but not its execution.

"Obviously, any time you get a win against a good team in the league, its a good thing from that perspective," Dever said. "We need to execute better. We needed more timely hits. We're been stranding runners on base at an alarming rate already this season."

Dever refused to let his pitchers off the hook for the walks.

"Pitchers have got to adjust, no matter what the strike zone is, good or bad," Dever said.

Ravenna scored first in the bottom of the second inning. A bases-loaded walk from Michael Sarapa made it 1-0.

Then, Ravens' shortstop Jared Horner blasted a home run over the left-field fence. The grand slam made it 5-0 Ravens after two innings, as Woodridge freshman starting pitcher Carson Murphy lasted on only 1.67 innings.

From there, however, Woodridge began chipping away.

The Bulldogs made it 5-1 when shortstop Preston Clark drew a bases-loaded walk in the third, followed by Woodridge designated hitter Jarrett Murphy scoring on an error in the fourth inning after he had led off with a single.

Ravenna starting pitcher Jared Straussed left the game with a 5-2 lead after four innings, but the Bulldogs erupted for five runs in the top of the sixth.

After a pair of walks and a fielder's choice, Clark hit an RBI single to make it 5-3. After catcher Kasey Kelleher was intentionally walked, first baseman Zane Patterson hit an two-run double to tie the game.

Ravenna reliever Nathan Holt looked to get out of the inning without any further damage, but a dropped fly ball at third base resulted in Kelleher and Patterson scoring to make it 7-5.

Ravenna didn't give up. In the bottom of the sixth, a single from Holt and an error on the left fielder allowed right fielder John Morgan to score and make it 7-6.

The Ravens were down to their last out in the seventh inning when Sarapa doubled and Horner hit an RBI single to tie the game at 7-7.

With Sarapa (0-1) on the mound in the eighth, Woodridge manufactured three more runs. A bases-loaded walk by second baseman David Graham was followed by suicide squeeze bunt from third baseman Ty Mygrants. Patterson was called safe when the catcher dropped the ball.

Center fielder Jake Margroff drew another bases-loaded walk to make it 10-7.

Ravenna had a chance to rally one more time, as the Bulldogs walked the bases full in the bottom of the eighth. However, Martin induced a pop out, struck out Ravenna's Brady Prentice and got Michael Wunderle to ground out to end the game.

Martin earned his second straight save against the Ravens, while Clark (1-0) picked up the win, allowing one earned run in 1.33 innings of work.

In game one against the Ravens, Woodridge relief pitcher Ryan O'Leary (1-0) pick up his first varsity win after coming on in the fifth inning. Martin got his the save by pitching a scoreless seventh inning.

Both teams finished with five hits and one error in the game, but the key to the win was a four-run bottom of the fifth for the Bulldogs.

The key hit came from Graham, who hit a three-run double to score what turned out to be the winning run. Senior pinch runner Robert Zarycki scored that run, hustling home all the way from first base.

Woodridge was set to play a doubleheader at Massillon Jackson April 8, but results were not available at press time.

The Bulldogs return to Metro Division play this week with a trio of games. Woodridge will travel to Streetsboro April 10, host the Rockets April 11 and then travel to Cloverleaf April 13. First pitch for all games is set for 4:30 p.m.


Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC