ELM GROVE - Maynard did all the little things right Wednesday night in its semifinal playoff opener with the homestanding Wheeling Cardinals at sun-drenched Patterson Field.
As a result of its 3-2 nailbiter over the top-seeds and regular-season champions, fourth-seeded Maynard is within a victory of securing its spot in the Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League's best-of-7 championship series.
Game 2 with the Cardinals (22-3) is tonight at 6 on the Firemen's Field diamond at the Maynard Community Park. If a Game 3 is necessary, it would be played Sunday at a site and time to be determined.
T-L?File Photo/KIM NORTH
MAYNARD PITCHER Logan Hudson works to the plate during a game earlier this season. He was brilliant in Game One Wednesday night leading Maynard past the Wheeling Cardinals.
"We took advantage of a couple of bad moves they made and we capitalized upon a couple of their mistakes," veteran Maynard (18-8) manager Laney Simone Sr. said. "We ran a little bit and did some things. I liked the way our offensive strategy worked at times.
"It took all three of those runs to win that game," he said with a sigh of relief.
Winning pitcher Logan Hudson was sailing on through six innings. He had allowed just two hits, on an infield single, and no runs. He had thrown only 72 pitches - a combined 36 over the last four innings - while retiring nine Cardinals in a row and 14 of the last 15 he had faced.
However, the Cardinals, winners of 19 straight who hadn't tasted defeat since a 3-2 loss at Lafferty way back on May 18, made things interesting in their final at-bat.
With one out, former Martins Ferry and West Liberty standout Josh Nagel legged out an infield single to the hole at short. On a hit-and-run, Noah Mull drilled a double to the rightfield corner that allowed the speedy Nagel to circle the bases. After Hudson recorded the second out on a looking strike three, Todd Schmitt rolled a single up the middle that chased home Mull. Hudson then walked Andrew henry before getting Tony SanFelippo to pop out to end the game.
"Honestly, I don't know what happened there," Hudson tried to explain of the seventh when he threw 38 pitches. "I'm still asking myself that. They put together a couple of hits, but I was able to get out of it."
The Shadyside grad finished with five strikeouts, three walks and scattered five hits. He tossed 110 pitches, 60 of which were strikes.
"I just want to get back to the championship series. That's what is driving me ... that's what's driving all of us," he stressed. "We want to defend out titles."
With another win, Maynard will have eliminated the top-seeded Cardinals for the second consecutive season.
"We just didn't hit the ball tonight," Wheeling player/manager Ricky Szeligo said. "We didn't put it in play with authority and we didn't have good at-bats. Overall, our offense struggled and the (three) errors didn't help."
Maynard took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Michael Androsko singled to center with one out. Dane Koch's grounder to first skipped between the legs of the first baseman as Androsko went to third. Koch stole second and Androsko chugged home when the throw sailed into centerfield.
It became 2-0 in the third as B.A. Holloway, the hero in Sunday's 14-inning elimination marathon of Jefferson County, walked leading off. He stole second and raced home on Ryan Jarvie's slicing single down the leftfield line.
Maynard made it 3-0 with some small ball in the fifth as Mark Cisar drew a leadoff walk. Holloway bunted him to second and he went to third on a passed ball. Max Schimmel's flyball to center was deep enough as Cisar slid in just ahead of the throw.
The tough-luck loser was Joe SanFelippo, who allowed five singles, struck out half-a-dozen and issued four base-on-balls.
Simone said he would send Greyson Loweecy to the hill tonight, while Szeligo said he was still undecided.
Wheeling Cardinals 2
Maynard 011 010 0 - 3 5 0
Wheeling 000 000 2 - 2 5 3
M-L. Hudson wp (4K, 3W) and Androsko; Schimmel SF, rbi; Jarvie S, rbi
W-J. SanFelippo lp (6K, 4W) and T. SanFelippo; Schmitt S, rbi; Mull D, rbi