PENINSULA -- Woodridge won a pair of very different games last week to sweep the series against Portage Trail Conference rival Streetsboro.
The game April 10 at Streetsboro City Park was a straightforward affair. The Bulldogs saw starting pitched Zane Patterson (1-1) and reliever Ryan O'Leary combine to pitch a four-hit shutout, as Woodridge came home with a 7-0 win.
The return game April 12 at Woodridge was anything but straightforward, as the Bulldogs found themselves trailing 6-0 after a half inning.
The good news is high school baseball is a seven-inning game.
A three-run home run by first baseman Zane Patterson in the sixth inning completed the Bulldogs' comeback, as Woodridge won 8-7 over Streetsboro at home.
The Bulldogs improved to 5-1, 4-0 in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division as of press time.
While noting the first inning was "eerily similar" to the Bulldogs' game April 5 with Ravenna, Woodridge coach Dennis Dever said there was no panic in the Bulldogs' dugout.
"We talked about the fact we were going to get seven at bats after that inning," Dever said. "It's chip away, chip away."
"Teams of character have shown that they can come back like that," Dever added. "We've shown we have character, but that's not the way I like to set things up."
Despite losing the early lead, Streetsboro coach Chris Scisciani was not unhappy with his team's effort.
"I'm just proud of the kids," Scisciani said. "I don't think anyone thought we had a chance against Woodridge after the way we played on Monday. They put themselves in a position to win. That's all you can ask."
The top of the first inning was a nightmare for Woodridge starting pitcher Carson Murphy, as Streetsboro scored all six runs without a hit.
Murphy opened the game with two walks, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Kyle Armbrecht, followed by a wild pitch to make it 1-0.
Murphy got a strikeout, but then walked three more batters to make it 2-0, followed by an error which allowed two more Rockets to score. After Murphy walked Jakob Wagner, he was relieved by Jarrett Martin.
However, Martin then issued a bases-loaded walk and hit Nick Keba with a pitch before striking out Armbrecht to end the inning.
Woodridge got two runs back in the bottom of the first. Center fielder Jake Margroff led off with a double and right fielder David Massey hit an RBI single. After Preston Clark grounded out, catcher Kasey Kelleher hit his own RBI single to make it 6-2.
Martin gave the Bulldogs a chance to rally, as he pitched five innings of scoreless relief, striking out six Rockets and allowing four hits.
Woodridge made it 6-3 in the third inning, as Clark manufactured a run. After getting hit by a pitch by Streetsboro starting pitcher Dylan Lanning, Clark stole second and third base before coming home on a sacrifice fly by Kelleher.
Lanning gave up three earned runs off three hits and hour walking in three innings of work.
Woodridge got another run off Wagner in the fourth. After Isaac Hosford walked and stole second, Clark came through with an RBI single to make it 6-4. Dever, however, wasn't satisfied.
"We were leaving a lot of men on base in those middle innings," Dever said. "We didn't get the big hit until Zane got his."
Woodridge's big inning came in the sixth off Keba (0-1). Hossford and Margroff singled and moved up on a sacrifice bunt Massey, but Clark then grounded out to third.
Streetsboro looked to get out of the inning when Kelleher hit a sharp liner to the shortstop. The ball was bobbled, however, and Hossford scored to cut it to 6-5.
The error proved costly, because Patterson stepped up next and golfed a 1-0 pitch over the right-field fence. Patterson's first home run of the season made it 8-6 Bulldogs.
Streetsboro gave itself a glimmer of hope in the top of the seventh. Center fielder Baden Hatzo singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single from left fielder Ty Arlesic.
However, Clark (2-0) got catcher Brandon Peterson to fly out, Wagner hit into a fielder's choice and second baseman Preston Collins grounded out to third to end the game.
Clark picked up the win by going 1.33 innings, allowing one run on two hits.
In game one against Streetsboro April 10, Massey led the offense with two singles and four RBIs, while Graham had two singles and two runs scored.
Margroff added two singles, two stolen bases and a run, while Patterson struck out 12 Rockets on the mound.
Woodridge had a busy weekend ahead of Easter, as the Bulldogs were set to travel to Cloverleaf April 13, Chardon April 14 and Copley April 15. Results of these games were not available at press time.
Woodridge faces a showdown for first place in the Metro Division this week, as it hosts Field April 18 and travels to Field April 19. First pitch for both games is at 4:30 p.m.