MACEDONIA — When Nordonia baseball hosted Stow-Munroe Falls Friday, both teams were trying to rebound from playoff disappointments.
Stow was coming off a 10-0 loss to top-seeded Walsh Jesuit in a sectional final Thursday, but Nordonia’s loss likely was harder to swallow. Seeded sixth in the Division I Hudson district, Nordonia lost 11-8 to 11th-seeded Shaker Heights Wednesday in a game which saw the Knights commit seven errors.
"Nine unearned runs is definitely not something you want to give up," said Nordonia coach Drew Hoisington. "That’s hard to recover from, especially when you have aspirations of a making a run. We had a bad day at precisely the wrong time."
That said, Hosington was happy to see his team recover Friday against the Bulldogs.
The Knights took advantage of nearly every scoring chance they had, as Nordonia scored a 7-2 home win over Stow.
The Bulldogs finished the season with a record of 11-14, 6-8 in the Suburban League National Conference. With two games left on its schedule, Nordonia improved to 13-10, 4-8 in the National Conference.
"I’m very proud of these guys," Hoisington said. "These are games that are very tough to get up for. We had a great [batting practice] and we up for the entire game."
Stow coach Aaron DeBord said the Knights did a better job executing when they needed to.
"I thought our guys hit the ball well today," DeBord said. "We hit a lot of balls right at people. We let too many guys on base early and Nordonia did a great job taking advantage of our mistakes.
Stow took the lead in the top of the first inning. Lead-off hitter Aidan Vober singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Stow pitcher Patrick Ciccantelli to make it 1-0.
The Knights would respond by getting runs in each of the first three innings. As a result, Ciccantelli (1-4) gave up six runs (five earned on six hits with four walks and three hit batters. He also struck five batters.
By contrast, Nordonia starting pitcher Caleb Cunningham (2-0) pitched five solid inning, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
"He just pounds the strike zone," Hoisington said of Cunningham. "if you throw a lot of strikes, you’re going to make the other team make a lot of outs."
Nordonia tied the game in the bottom of the first when third baseman Aiden McFerren hit an RBI single to score second baseman Robby Levak.
Nordonia took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second when designated hitter Matt Yokiel was hit by a pitch. Yokiel went to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an RBI single from center fielder Billy Levak.
Nordonia made it 3-1 in the third inning when Robby Levak singled and Luke Jackson singled. Levak then stole third and scored on a throwing error. The elder Levak brother led the Knights by with two singles, a double, an RBI and three runs scored.
Stow cut the deficit to 3-2 in the top of the fifth, thanks to an RBI single from Adam Folk.
However, Nordonia pulled away with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Robby Levak reached on an error, Jackson singled and Levak scored on a wild pitch. Cinccantelli then issued three straight walks, allowing Jackson to score, before he was relieved by Stow senior Kyle DiGiammarino.
DiGiammarino nearly got out of the jam, but a two-out single from pinch hitter Brendan O’Donnell to make it 6-2.
Nordonia added one more in run in the sixth inning. After a lead-off single by Nick Heiser, Robby Levak smashed an RBI double to make it 7-2.
Zach Westbrooks closed the door for Nordonia, as got the final five out with two strikeouts and one walk.
While Stow’s season is complete, Nordonia has two more National Conference games to play. The Knights will host North Royalton Monday before taking on Twinsburg Tuesday. Both games begin at 4:30 p.m.