NILES - For any team, there are good days, and there are bad days. For the Niles baseball team against Canfield on Thursday, it was just a bad day.
The Red Dragons committed five errors at inopportune times and couldn't get much going on offense en route to an 18-2 loss against All-American Conference, American Division opponent Canfield.
"This is baseball - sometimes, these games happen," Niles coach Mike Guarnieri said. "We've been on the other end of it, and we've been on this end of it. That's just kind of the way it goes."
After giving up double-digit runs all week, the Cardinals (3-8, 2-3) seemed to take it all out on the Red Dragons (5-5, 2-3), batting through their lineup in two separate innings.
The rout started in the second inning, when Canfield put up nine runs, helped along by a couple of costly errors. Because of these errors, Niles starting pitcher Jake Foster was accountable for all nine runs, but only three of them were earned.
"I wouldn't take anything away from the way they swung the bats," Guarnieri said. "They came out and were real aggressive. Defensively, we didn't help our cause, but all the credit goes to their bats."
Then, in the fourth inning, the Cardinals repeated the same feat, although they scored eight runs on reliever Noah Arvin. This time, the Cardinals' bats did a lot of the talking, with Colton Crissman hitting an RBI double and Derek Turocy powering a grand slam over the right field fence to finish off Canfield's scoring for the game.
Turocy, who finished the game 2-for-4 and scored three runs to go with his four RBIs, committed to play college baseball next year at Lake Erie College earlier in the day. Canfield coach Matt Koenig claimed the senior right fielder was due to go off on the Red Dragons.
"Today was a big day for him before he got to the ballpark," Koenig said. "We kept telling him, 'Today's your day. You go out and you have fun and swing the bat.'
"It's good to see him swinging the bat well, and today was his day."
This win also was a big morale booster for Canfield, Koenig said. After struggling to open the season, Koenig is hoping this game will be a springboard for the rest of the year.
"Right now, any win feels good, I'm not going to lie," Koenig said. "We've been getting our butts kicked for the first couple weeks of the season. This is the first time I've seen our guys come out with this much fire and enthusiasm. Today was, hopefully, a step in the right direction."
As for Niles, the Red Dragons knew that even after the second inning, they dug themselves too deep a hole from which to dig out.
"When one team scores nine runs on you in one inning, it's hard to come back," said James Tate, who went 2-for-3 in the losing effort. "We couldn't stop them from scoring or hitting the ball all over the field."
Luckily for Niles, the Red Dragons won't have long to stew over this loss, as they take on LaBrae today weather permitting.
"It's baseball," Guarnieri said. "It's not a 10-game season - it's a 27-game season. You're going to have ups and downs. My guys will be ready. They'll respond (today against LaBrae)."