Four at a time
Two 4-run innings lead Girard over Liberty
NILES — Behind two four-run innings, Girard defeated Liberty, 10-1, at Eastwood Field in All-American Conference Blue Tier baseball action.
Girard (5-3, 4-1 AAC Blue) got off to a hot start as Adam Warga lined a double into play. Tyler O’Dell doubled and Warga scored to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. O’Dell scored on an Austin Clausell single. Both Clausell and David Blackmon eventually scored on errors to give Girard its 4-0 lead.
On the mound, Nick DeGregory pitched a beautiful game for the win. He gave up just one run on six hits in six innings of work. He did that all on just 85 pitches.
“It was definitely nice to jump on them early. That was a huge start. After that, I have to be honest, I got just a little nervous,” Girard coach Aaron Alejars said. “I told coach that they had been beating us after that fourth inning, it was 4-1. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little bit nervous.”
Liberty (7-4, 5-2) scored its lone run in the bottom of the second inning as Dwight Parker knocked in Christian Kijowski on a double to cut the lead to 4-1.
Both teams were unable to score in the third inning. David Sewell hit a deep double to center field but was left stranded for Liberty. Nick Malito reached but nothing came of it for Girard.
“Early on, even the first play of the game, I thought the ball in left-center was a makeable play. We didn’t make the play. The first two kids on the mound for us were freshmen,” Liberty coach Tommy Otto said. “We are young in spots up the middle and on the mound. At the same time, we do have quite a few seniors on the team. Everything just kind of snowballed in the first. I really thought Trevor Strohmeyer kept us in the game.”
Strohmeyer pitched five innings as he gave up six runs, four earned, on eight hits with two strikeouts.
The fifth inning is when Girard began to create the gap as David Blackmon hit a single and eventually scored on a sacrifice bunt, and then Nick Malito scored on a sac fly by Braydon Freeland.
“I think we only had four hits. I scheduled (Cardinal) Mooney the other night and we only had three hits. We got two-hit last night and then four hits now. We have to get back to the drawing board,” Otto said. “We have to eliminate our strikeouts. We just have to put it in play and execute. We misplayed a coverage that allowed two runs and then it went from there in the fifth and sixth.”
In the sixth inning, Clausell and Warga scored on hits. Malito then added the other two runs on a two-run inside-the-park home run to put the Indians up 10-1.
“After I saw it go over his head, I started looking for my coaches. He gave me the read and I kept going,” Malito said on his home run. “To be able to do the little things is important. With DeGregory pitching, we tried to cut down on the errors to help him as much as we could.”