Doubleheader between Falls and Roosevelt shows baseball is still a game

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Cuyahoga Falls pitcher Brady Semick throws a pitch.

CUYAHOGA FALLS — For so many people, baseball has become serious business.

This is what happens when people talk ownership issues, broadcast cable deals and $341 million contracts — all of which have come into play at the start of Major League Baseball's season.

Perhaps one needs to look away from the majors to see something else: At its essence, baseball is still a children's game.

Ample evidence of this came Saturday during a doubleheader between Cuyahoga Falls and Kent Roosevelt at Water Works Park.

For starters, it was youth baseball day for Falls. Between games, the Black Tigers formed a tunnel for local youth players to run through.

Cuyahoga Falls players Tyler Harris and Damien Smith celebrate in the outfield.

Falls coach Brian Shannon noted it was "vital" for the future of his program to establish a relationship with the city's vibrant youth programs.

"I need them to be able to learn in youth baseball," Shannon said. "I need them to do that so they're ready to play with us."

While the high school players were older than the young ones in attendance Saturday, it was clear both teams still were young at heart.

Case in point: Falls attributed part of their mojo Saturday to the presence of the "Rally Unicorn."

That's right: "Rally Unicorn."

Falls captain Dylan Grochowski explained that the Black Tigers won a stuffed unicorn on a recent trip to The Workz on the Riverfront. Since then, the mythic beast has become the team mascot.

Perhaps the unicorn had some magic, as Falls won the first game of the doubleheader 5-0, handing Shannon his first win as Black Tiger head coach.

"It felt great to do it at home," Shannon said. "I hope it's the first of many and we have to get to work to make sure it is many."

Lest anyone think the Black Tigers are alone in their jocularity, consider the case of Roosevelt senior Kristian Daetwyler.

Daetwyler is a key player for the Rough Riders and played a major role in Roosevelt's 11-1 win in game two. He has committed to play football at John Carroll University.

Kent Roosevelt senior Kristian Daetwyler pitches from the mound.

Every time he comes to bat, however, a chorus of "Meow!" breaks out from the Roosevelt bench.

Riders coach Mike Haney explains.

"My nephew played with him a couple of years ago," Haney said. "His nickname was 'KD' but my nephew started calling him 'Kitty.' Before you knew, the cat calls started."

Perhaps "Big Cat" is a better moniker now for Daetwyler, but if he keeps performing like he did in game two, expect the kitty chorus to swell.

Daetwyler went 3-of-3 with three RBIs, three singles and a sacrifice fly, leading the Rough Riders offense to a seven-hit, 11-run performance.

Roosevelt also got a two-run single from third baseman Zach Rogers. Alex Dabrowski was the prototypical lead-off man in the win, as he had a single, three walks, four stolen bases and four runs scored.

Roosevelt sophomore Logan Poole shined in his first high school start, giving up one run on two hits in 4⅔ innings of work.

"If we catch the ball in right field, Logan could have gotten out of here with a no-hitter," Haney said. "We've been looking for consistency from him and he was consistent today."

Haney noted things were "a little Jekyll and Hyde" from teams, as the youth of both squads showed.

In game one, it was Falls who got the great pitching performance.

Kent Roosevelt senior Alex Dabrowski knocks a double in the first game of a double-header against Cuyahoga Falls.

Senior Brady Semick pitched a complete-game shutout, scattering six hits and striking out three in seven innings of work.

"He's been working hard and it showed today," Shannon said. "He's fastball, curveball, change up and everything was working today."

It was a tight contest through five innings, as an RBI single from third baseman Teddy Nime accounted for Falls' lone run and hit.

In the bottom of the sixth, however, Falls broke the game open. After a single and two Rough Rider errors, a three-run double by lead-off man Nick Deckert gave Falls the winning margin.