NEFFS - When a team receives good pitching, hits the ball well, and makes the plays defensively, it can be hard to beat.
In Neffs' case, two out of three ain't bad.
The A's Gang got five shutout innings from lefty Michael Roach and banged out 10 hits in rolling past visiting Warren Township 12-2 in Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League action at the old ballyard along Ohio 149.
NEFFS CATCHER Matt Masarick (22) applies the tag to Warren Township’s Ethan Berry during Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League action Tuesday night in Neffs. The A’s Gang won 12-2.
NEFFS PITCHER Michael Roach works to the plate during Tuesday night’s game against Warren Township.
Neffs only downfall was it committed seven errors.
"We got a good, solid five innings out of Michael (Roach) and we hit the ball really well," Neffs manager Colin Graham said. "We will have to shore up our defense though. We won't be able to get away with that when we play some of the better competition."
The hosts (10-6) struck for three runs in the bottom of the first as Jared Taylor drew a leadoff walk from River Pirates' starter Greyson Loweecy. Taylor promptly stole second and third before Derek Miller drew a base-on-balls. Taylor raced home on a wild pitch as Miller went to second. Brandon Leonard followed with a drive to the gap in right-center that plated Miller.
As Leonard headed for third, the throw sailed wide of the target, allowing the former Martins Ferry standout to sprint home.
The A's Gang made it 4-0 in the second with some nifty baserunning. Matt Masarick walked leading off, but Loweecy fanned the next two batters as a passed ball and wild pitch moved Masarick to third. Taylor coaxed another walk from Loweecy, and then got caught in a rundown as Masarick streaked home without a throw.
Warren Township (4-13) threatened in the third, but Ethan Berry was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on an overthrow.
Leonard rapped an RBI single in the bottom of the inning, and Clark Kasprowski's infield grounder chased home Leonard for a 6-0 reading.
The River Pirates had a golden opportunity in the fourth, but let it slip away with no damage being down.
With runners on first and second and one out, Kasprowski went to his right at short to field a chopper and record a force at third. A walk to C.J. LaRoche loaded the bases, but Roach got out of the jam by inducing an infield popup.
Warren Township left two runners on in the fifth, and Neffs made it pay with five runs in the bottom of the inning.
"We had our chances, we just didn't take advantage of them," Warren Township manager Frank Kovalchik said. "We didn't hit the ball very well today."
Miller stroked an RBI triple to the rightfield corner and Leonard followed with an infield single that drove in Miller. Kasprowski laced a run-scoring single to left and Corey Kennan blasted a two-run double to the fence in deep left-center as the margin ballooned to 11-0.
Meanwhile, Roach, a former Purple Rider, wasn't overpowering, but was effective in his five innings. He only struck out two and walked one. He also hit a batter and scattered four singles.
"Michael did a very good job of getting us through five innings," Graham added. "We needed a good pitching effort, and he gave us one."
Roach tossed 73 pitches, 44 of which were strikes. He pitched ahead as he threw 18 of 23 first-pitch strikes.
On the other hand, Loweecy didn't have his best stuff, something that surprised his manager.
"Greyson didn't have one of his better games today," Kovalchik noted. "He's pitched very well for us all season, but today he didn't have it."
Loweecy was on the opposite end of the spectrum as Roach as the former St. Clairsville hurler only threw 10 first-pitch strikes to 26 hitters.
The River Pirates avoided being shutout as they tallied a run on an error in the sixth, and Berry singled in the second.
Leonard went 3-for-4 with a trio of runs batted in. Splenda also singled thrice, while Miller, Kasprowski and Keenan each had a pair of ribbies.
Berry had two singles for Warren Township.
WT. 000 002 0 - 2 6 4
Neffs 312 051 x - 11 10 7
Batteries: Loweecy, Young (5) and Marling, LaRoche (5). Roach, Cla. Francis (6), Splenda (7) and Masarick.
North can be reached at email@example.com