Stow baseball puts home opener in the shed with Roosevelt
STOW — When Stow-Munroe Falls and Kent Roosevelt last took the baseball diamond together, they did so as teammates.
The Bulldogs and Rough Riders played an exhibition game together against Hudson last July at Canal Park
After both teams opened their respective seasons with doubleheaders Saturday in southern Ohio, they renewed their rivalry Monday at Stow. The home opener for the Bulldogs also featured the newest addition to the Stow baseball program: A $13,000 storage facility and press box known as "The Shed."
Bulldogs coach Aaron DeBord noted program's storage facilities were in need of an upgrade.
"We needed a new shed because our old one had rotted away," DeBord said. "For a couple of years, we had nothing."
So, the Bulldog baseball program raised about $10,000 in private funding to build the new facility. The Stow-Munroe Falls City School District added $3,000 to help cover the cost of the project.
"Once the district added onto it, I knew I wanted to build the second story," DeBord said. "I'm so glad that we have administrators that support us."
As a result, Stow upgraded from an 8-foot-by-8-foot shed to a two-story, 16-foot-by-22-foot structure to house all of its equipment.
Located behind home plate at the Stow baseball stadium, the second floor of The Shed doubles as a press box.
Stow also played tribute to its athletic training staff Monday, as March is National Athletic Training Month.
DeBord honored Stow trainers Heather Cummings and Corey Tilden before the game, as Cummings threw out the first pitch.
It all added up to a lovely home opener for the Stow — and a long afternoon for the Rough Riders.
Stow's offense pumped out seven run of the bottom of the first inning and just kept coming, roaring out to a 15-3 win over the Rough Riders that left both teams with 2-1 records.
DeBord noted his team played well in all three phases of the game.
"We had a pretty good day all the way around," DeBord said. "One thing we've got to work on is we've got to adjust to strike zone, but we'll get there. Overall, I'm very pleased with what we've done."
Tough as the loss was, Roosevelt coach Mike Haney took the long view, given how young his team is.
"We're growing up and we grew up a bit tonight," Haney said. "We are going to grow from this, regardless of the outcome. It's all part of the process. We've only got four seniors. Some days like today, we're going to look our age. Some days, like Saturday, we're going to far exceed our expectations."
Senior pitcher Chase Brooker picked up the win for Stow, allowing two earned runs in three innings of work. Broker also had a two-run double at the plate.
"It's really exciting to be out here after we lost last season," Brooker said. "To come back here and win a game we really wanted to win is pretty special. I think adversity is going to make us a better team."
Along with Brooker, junior Ryan Orosz gave up one earned run in the fourth inning, and closer Brandon Beck worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning to close out the game.
Meanwhile, Rough Rider pitching endured, well, a rough ride.
Starter Jared Dunfee gave up seven earned runs in just one inning, and reliever Cole Wood gave up six runs in 1⅔ innings, though none of them were earned.
Roosevelt's defense was its own worst enemy, as six errors led to six unearned runs.
"We just kept leaking runs," Haney said. "Every time we started to get back into it, we'd give up more unearned runs. We need game like this in order to help us grow."
Stow's lineup banged out 12 hits in total, despite DeBord emptying his bench after the second inning.
Senior catcher Riley Cesnak led the Bulldogs with two two-run doubles, a sacrifice fly and an RBI fielder's choice to put up six RBI.
"We've been able to swing the bat well since our first game," DeBord said. "I hope it's a trend we can continue this year."