PENINSULA — The Cuyahoga Falls City Baseball Championship has produced some memorable games in its decade-long existence.
Backyard rivals Woodridge and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy produced another quality contest Friday at Woodridge.
CVCA made use of a big third inning to score a 4-1 win over the Bulldogs Friday at Woodridge in a first-round game. CVCA improved to 7-4, while Woodridge dropped to 6-3.
CVCA coach Jason Herblet noted it was a well-played game on both sides. He lauded his team for not having any strikeouts.
"We are very aggressive at the plate," Herblet said. "We had a lot of opposite field hits today.
"[Woodridge] is solid all the way up and down their line," he added. "I have ton of respect for [Woodridge coach] Dennis [Dever]. I look up to him in a lot of ways. He’s been doing a great job for a long time."
Dever made it clear the respect was mutual.
"They’re a good hitting team. They were able to take advantage of their opportunities and get timely hits," Dever said. "Today, we didn’t. The hard hit balls for us just didn’t fall today. You’re not going to win too many ball games with only two hits."
CVCA had a bit of secret weapon on mound Friday. Herblet noted junior Christian Isaacs would have been one of CVCA’s top two pitchers had he started the season healthy, but a stress fracture in his leg sidelined him for the first two weeks of the season.
Isaacs made his pitching debut Friday and looked very sharp. He picked up the win, going five innings, allowing one run on one hit with five strikeouts.
"He looked great today," Herblet said.
CVCA did all of its scoring in the top of the third inning. With one out, Royals center fielder Austen Williams hit infield infield single just beyond Woodridge pitcher Josh Kearn’s glove, followed by a seeing-eye single to right by shortstop Josh Junko.
"I thought Kearns actually threw pretty well today," Dever said. "We were literally inches away from being able to make plays and make that much different inning. That’s baseball."
Indeed, CVCA left fielder Taylor Sobiech followed with an RBI single, followed by a two-run triple from Isaacs, who hit a slicing liner just beyond the glove of the right fielder. Right fielder Andrew Schaeffer then made it 4-0 with an RBI single.
CVCA second baseman Andrew Hendrickx also singled, but Woodridge ended the inning with a 6-4-3 double play.
Kearns (0-2) took the loss, allowing four earned runs off eight hits in four innings of works. Woodridge sidearm reliever Kyle Schneider kept the game close by pitching three scoreless innings.
Woodridge got one run back in the bottom of the fourth. Shortstop Ty Mygrants walked, went to second on a throwing error and scored on an RBI single from catcher Brad Goodyear.
The Bulldogs’ best chance to get back into came in the bottom of the fifth. Two walks and a single by right fielder Kyle Mottice loaded the bases with two outs, but Isaacs got Mygrants to fly out to short right field to end the threat.
Schaeffer then slammed the door on the Bulldogs. He retired all six batters he faced in order to pick up a two-inning save, which was his first save of the season.
Due to unplayable fields, Cuyahoga Falls and Walsh Jesuit will play the other first-round game of the City Baseball Championship Saturday at noon. The winner of that contest will travel to CVCA for the the championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday, while the loser will face travel to Woodridge for the consolation game at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GHO