CUYAHOGA FALLS -- Scott Koenig continues to keep a positive attitude regarding his team, noting Cuyahoga Falls baseball's trials this season are not due to lack of effort.
"They're trying," Koenig said. "They're very capable of surprising some people, especially in the playoffs."
Koenig's smile, however, can't hide one maddening fact: Cuyahoga Falls' offense continues to hibernate, even as the weather has warmed up.
"I've tried everything," Koenig said. "It's like there's a curse on our bats. Maybe we need to do some voodoo in order to lift it."
Cursed or not, Falls' bats simply were not swinging earlier in the week.
In a make-up game April 24 with Stow-Munroe Falls, Falls dropped a 7-1 loss at Water Works Park.
On April 25 at Water Works, Falls' defense also struggled, as it dropped a 4-0 loss to North Royalton.
Falls then traveled to North Royalton April 26, where it suffered an 11-1 loss in five innings.
Falls' record stood at 4-15, 1-10 in the Suburban League National Conference as of press time.
Against Stow, Falls was able to garner two hits, both of which came from senior Nate Vassalotti. Vassalotti smacked a triple to right-center field in the second inning and drove in Falls' lone run with an RBI single in the top of the seventh.
Beyond that, Falls could not figure out Stow starting pitching Collin Lang. Lang went the distance, giving up one earned run on two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
After throwing a no-hitter in his previous outing, Falls' starter Will Rightley had a tougher time against the Bulldogs. Rightley gave up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Lang hurt the Black Tigers with his bat as well as his arm. He opened the scoring with a two-run double in the top of the first inning, doubled and scored on an RBI single from Griffin Mohney in the fourth and had an RBI single in the fifth.
Stow first baseman Eric Schilling added an RBI single in the fifth and a two-run in the sixth inning for the Bulldogs.
On April 24 against North Royalton, Falls' starting pitcher was Zak Allen (1-5) pitched well against a solid Bears' lineup, but lasted just 3.67 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) off six hits, while striking out three batters.
Allen was undone by the top of the third inning, which saw the Black Tigers commit four errors.
A double by Bears' right fielder Dom Carriera drove in a run, but Allen was able to limit the damage by striking out North Royalton's Zach Mueller and Ian Layhew to end the inning.
Koenig noted the Bears were able to get to Allen in the fourth inning because he had to throw so many pitches in the third.
A single from Bears' center fielder Jacob Willmann was followed by Carriera's second straight RBI double. Catcher Ryan O'Malley then hit an RBI single to make it 4-0.
Koenig then pulled Allen in favor of freshman Alex Valente. Valente got out of the jam and pitched 1.33 innings of scoreless relief.
Jack Kramer also kept Falls in the game, as he pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
"They kept us in the game," Koenig said.
The problem was Falls' offense had no answers for North Royalton starting pitcher Derek Ritterbusch. The Ohio Northern University recruit pitched a complete-game shutout, facing just one more batter than the minimum.
Ritterbusch limited Falls to just four hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts.
Falls got two singles from second baseman Zach Metzger and one single each from right fielder Jacob Sage and Rightley.
"We haven't put back-to-back-to-back hits together this year yet," Koenig said. "One of these days, somebody is going to get hit with all the offense we've been missing this season."
Unfortunately, Falls' effort in game two against North Royalton left Koenig disgusted.
Starting pitcher Kyle Borton (1-4) lasted just three inning against the Bears, giving up eight runs (seven earned).
Falls had three hits in the loss and committed six errors.
The Black Tigers were set to play Shaker Heights at Canal Park April 28 and host the Cuyahoga Falls City Baseball Championship April 29, but results were not available at press time.
Falls will complete its National Conference schedule this week, beginning with a make-up game with Brecksville-Broadview Heights May 1 at Water Works. Falls will then travel to Twinsburg May 2 before hosting the Tigers May 3 at Water Works. First pitch for all games is set for 4:30 p.m.