Maynard rolls to 2-0 lead

By KIM NORTH

Times Leader Sports Writer

MAYNARD – It didn’t take Maynard long to take control of Game 2 of the Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League’s championship series Friday night.

The fourth-seeded defending champions were opportunistic in doing so, tallying seven unearned runs in the bottom of the first with two outs en route to a 15-1 shellacking of No. 3 seed Weirton before a nice-sized crowd at the sun-filled Firemen’s Field diamond at the Community Park.

“They made some mistakes early and we took advantage of them,” Maynard (21-8) manager Laney Simone Sr. explained of the early outburst. “That’s how you win games, capitalizing on your opponent’s mistakes.”

After Weirton starter Logan Linder retired the first two hitters on six pitches, the flood gates opened when the Red Dons (19-9) shortstop dropped a B.A. Holloway blooper behind second base for an error. Another error and a walk loaded the bases before Michael Androsko’s chopper to third was thrown wildly to first, making it 1-0.

Maynard then played a little station-to-station as Logan Hudson, Cory Kotopka and Cody Hudson collected back-to-back-to-back run-scoring singles. Cody Hudson wound up at third when the ball was misplayed in centerfield as the count grew to 6-0. After D.J. Busby – batting for the second time in the inning – was hit-by-a-pitch, Mark Cisar dropped a single into left to score Cody Hudson with the seventh tally.

“I think we continued from the other night (Wednesday) with our hitting. We had a very good offensive game that night, and it continued here tonight,” Simone said. “We seemed to do the right things at the right times.

“Let’s hope we can continue it for one more game.”

If so, Maynard would sweep its second consecutive championship series, having bested Lafferty in three games last summer. Game 3 of the best-of-5 will be Sunday on Edwin J. Bowman Field in Weirton, with the Red Dons needing a victory to remain alive. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m.

Should Weirton prevail, Game 4 would be back in Belmont County Monday night at 6 o’clock. A Game 5, if needed, would be Tuesday at 6 in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia.

“Again, whenever you give them extra outs, they take advantage of it,” Weirton player/manager Rudy Nagy said. “That first inning when we had a few errors killed us. All we had to do was make the routine plays and we avoid that big inning.”

The Red Dons scored their lone run (unearned) in the third. Tori Fuscardo reached second on a pair of errors leading off. He advanced to third on a groundout to the right side and raced home on Linder’s sacrifice fly to right-center.

Weirton would only get four runners on base the remainder of the contest as Cisar was his typical self in the center of the diamond. The 39-year-old struck out seven, walked one and scattered four harmless hits – three singles and a double.

“Mark was once again Mark,” Simone praised. “I don’t know what else to say about him.”

Maynard batted around once again in the sixth as 13 batters went to the plate, with eight of them scoring as the rout was on.

Cisar ignited the late outburst by slugging the first pitch he saw from Fuscardo an estimated 350 feet to left-center. The shot easily cleared County Road 10 on the fly, upping the count to 8-1.

Androsko had an RBI single; Dane Koch walked with the bases loaded to force in a run; Cody Hudson singled for the third time in the game and knocked in his second run; Busby singled in a run; Cisar drove in another with a base rap; and Greyson Loweecy picked up an RBI when he shot up the middle caromed off the Red Dons’ second baseman.

Cisar and Cody Hudson each recorded three hits, with Cisar driving in three runs and Hudson two. All but one Maynard player collected at least one hit, with the exception of Jarvie, who walked twice and was plunked with a pitch.

GAME NOTES

Cisar threw 86 pitches, with 61 being strikes. He threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of the 27 batters he faced. He whiffed four of the final five and three straight to end the game. Nine of the 21 outs were on ground balls.

The game took just 1-hour, 38-minutes despite the combined 16 runs.

The crowd was estimated to be just under 250.

Web gems were slim picking with the exception of No. 1, which went to Weirton centerfielder Greg Ashmead who made an outstanding diving snag in right-center to end the seven-run first with two runners on. No. 2 went to Holloway for his play on a roller down the third base line in the sixth. No. 3 went to a fan down the third base line for his bare-handed grab of a foul hot smash.

Former Wheeling police chief Kevin Gessler worked the plate, while Sean Hanley handled the bases.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com