SHADYSIDE – With four straight losses, including one to Shadyside, in as many games, Buckeye Local needed something positive to happen as it tuned up for the Division II sectional baseball tournament.
The Panthers (11-13) received the boost in a number of ways here Thursday afternoon at cloud-covered Fleming Field. They banged out 13 hits and got solid pitching from Jonathan Borkoski in roughing up Shadyside, 13-0, in a game stopped after six innings because of the 10-run rule.
Josh Figurski, Buckeye Local’s No. 8 hitter, led the assault on three Tigers’ pitchers. He singled twice and doubled to drive in four runs. Three other Panthers had multi-hit games, and Borkoski, although not overpowering, scattered four harmless singles in going the distance.
“That was a big one. I just told the kids ‘congratulations’ because they came back good,” Buckeye Local head coach Rick DeLuca said. “We played well today. We needed a game like this.
“That’s one thing about these kids,” he continued. “In the past they would have died. They would have quit a long time ago, but not these kids. They come out every day to win. Some days they may be flat, but they never come to lose.”
After scoring an unearned run in the first, Buckeye Local used Figurski’s slicing RBI double to right in the second with one out for a 2-0 count.
A 4-run third with two outs, highlighted by a 2-run single up the middle off the bat of Figurski, made it 6-0. Josh Sokolowski added a run-single. The fourth run scored via one of five Shadyside errors.
Jonathan Roth knocked in a run with a single, as did Figurski in the fifth. The third run scored on another error as the advantage ballooned to 9-0.
“There’s a kid that hasn’t played much, but he’s a good hitter,” DeLuca said of Figurski. “He did a good job today.”
Roth’s bloop single down the leftfield line in the sixth bumped the margin to 10-0. The 11th run crossed on a fielder’s choice, and then a pair of runners raced around the bases on a wild pitch and error to conclude the scorefest.
All the while, Borkoski was holding the Tigers at bay. The right-handed junior struck out four and walked two. He threw 79 pitches, of which 51 were strikes. Three of the four singles he allowed never left the infield.
“We started him a couple of games early in the season and he really struggled,” DeLuca noted of Borkoski. “Lately, we’ve been trying to use him some more. He’s probably pitched 2 or 3 times in the last week, but today is the first time he’s started since early on. He had everything working for him today.”
Roth, Austin Marshall and Brian Zeroski each had two singles. Roth knocked in a run. Eric Banal had a double. Every Panther who played had a hit, except Borkoski, who did his job on the mound.
The decisive loss left veteran Shadyside head coach Mike Meintel with a lot of questions that need answered.
“We’ve been in a slump for about two weeks now. It’s going to be 1-and-out in the (sectional) tournament if we don’t straighten out before Monday,” he offered. “We’re going to re-group as a coaching staff and see what we need to do, but we’re perplexed.
“Give them (Buckeye Local) credit,” Meintel added. “Coach DeLuca had them ready to play today.”
Buckeye Local is back in action today at Wintersville against Indian Creek. The Panthers make their Division II sectional tournament debut Saturday at Vaccaro Field in Steubenville against East Liverpool at 4 p.m.
Shadyside opens Division IV sectional action Monday at 6 p.m. versus River at Niekro Diamond at Bill Jobko Stadium in Brookside.
Buckeye 114 304-13 13 1
Shadyside 000 000 – 0 4 5
Batteries: Borkoski and Sokolowski. Dorris, Frizzi (3), Myers (5) and Stupak
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