Barton forces Game 3
MAYNARD – It’s probably safe to say that not many members of the Barton Braves were alive when the Bee Gee’s had the hit song ‘Stayin’ Alive.’
However, that’s exactly what Barton did Monday night here in Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League playoff action.
The Braves used Nick Rocchio’s two-run, two-out single in the top of the eighth inning to rally past Maynard, 7-5, in game two of their quarterfinal playoff series on the Firemen’s Field diamond.
With the hard-earned victory, defending champion Barton (15-7) forced a third, and deciding, game tonight at Henning Field in Crescent. The first pitch is set for 6.
Rocchio’s clutch hit broke up a pitcher’s duel that began in the bottom of the third inning.
“I was just looking for something that I could put in play,” Rocchio explained of his game-winning hit to rightfield. “He (Sam Vincenzo) was throwing well. He threw me a curveball and I just wanted to get my hands ahead of it in the zone.”
After Vincenzo, who pitches at Potomac State, struck out the first two batters in the eighth, No. 8 hitter T.J. Sliva singled to shallow center. Anthony Rocchio and leadoff hitter Jourden Yager followed with full-count walks to load the bases. Nick Rocchio took an 0-1 pitch the other way as Sliva and Anthony Rocchio came around to score.
Then, after starter Tyler Kurtz couldn’t finish things out, Nick Rocchio came on with a runner on first and two outs in the bottom of the extra frame. He quickly got into further trouble as D.J. Busby dropped a single into shallow left and Mark Cisar, the winning pitcher in game one Sunday, singled sharply to left to load the bases. A strikeout ended the 2-hour, 27-minute contest.
“These guys are so resilient,” Barton manager Billy Timko, who had to watch the final five innings from beyond the outfield fence after being ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Tad Stephens, said. “They don’t let anything bother them. We had a little blowup yesterday (Sunday), but we’re a family and whatever happened stays in our family.
“These guys came back together,” Timko added. “They could’ve folded, but they didn’t.”
The contest started out as though it was going to be a slugfest as the long-time rivals evenly divided 10 runs over the first 2 frames.
Barton struck first when Nick Rocchio’s sinking liner to left skipped past a diving B.A. Holloway. Yager, who had led off the game with a base-on-balls, circled the bases for a 1-0 lead.
Maynard countered with a three-spot in the bottom of the inning as Holloway atoned for his fielding gaffe with a three-run bomb to deep left-center on an 0-1 pitch. The roundtripper plated Cisar and Zack Kinnick.
The Braves drew even in their next at-bat as Anthony Rocchio’s single to right scored Joel Atkinson, but Sliva was gunned down on a bang-bang play. With two outs, Nick Rocchio blasted a double to center to tie the game at three.
Maynard came right back as Busby reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs. Cisar doubled to the fence in center to score the fleet-footed Busby, and Kinnick’s single down the leftfield line chased home Cisar for a 5-3 reading.
A bases-loaded walk to Sliva ended Logan Hudson’s night on the hill. Vincenzo entered and promptly served up a sacrifice fly by Anthony Rocchio that knotted the contest at five.
From then on it was a pitching duel between Kurtz, a former Barnesville standout, and Vincenzo, a St. Clairsville product.
Kurtz retired 18 of the final 24 hitters he faced. He worked his way out of two jams in the fourth and sixth innings. He finished with 10 strikeouts and three walks. He was touched up for 10 hits and threw 129 pitches, 79 of which were strikes.
“Tyler pitched a heckuva game,” Nick Rocchio allowed. “He was lights-out after the second inning.”
Nick Rocchio paced Barton’s 10-hit attack with two singles and a double. He drove in four runs. Sliva collected a single and double that produced a run.
Cisar had four of Maynard’s 11 hits. He singled three times and doubled. he was intentionally walked in his other plate appearance. Michael Androsko had a pair of singles and a double from the No. 9 slot. Kinnick singled twice.
Hudson struck out three and walked five in his two-plus innings of work. Vincenzo fanned seven and issued a pair of free passes. Hudson tossed 65 pitches. Vincenzo, who retired the first 10 batters he faced and 15 of the first 16, charted 93 pitches, with 35 coming in the final inning.
“Our bats went a little dead there and we couldn’t seem to find a way to break through,” Maynard manager Laney Simone Sr. said. “We stayed back and waited, and they answered.”
- Approximately 300 people attended Monday night’s contest. A big crowd is expected for tonight’s contest.
- Web gems went to Androsko who held onto the ball despite a collision with Sliva at home plate. No. 2 went to Yager for his sliding catch in centerfield.
- Timko will hand the ball to righthander Mike Muklewicz tonight. Simone Sr. will counter with Cisar, who threw 101 pitches Sunday.
Barton 122 000 02- 7 10 0
Maynard 320 000 00- 5 11 0
Batteries: Kurtz, N. Rocchio (7) and Hynes. Hudson, Vincenzo (3) and Androsko.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org