Meadville Tribune

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July 16, 2014

Richardson’s arm, bat help Lake/Linesville stay alive

WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP — Baseball is a team sport. Win as a team. Lose as a team.

But it doesn’t mean that one player on that team can’t have a really, really great game.

That brings us to Conneaut Lake/Linesville’s Ryan Richardson.

Facing Franklin in the loser’s bracket final of the Section 1 9 & 10 Year Old baseball tournament Wednesday at the Crawford County Fairgrounds Fields, Richardson not only socked a three-run home run to swing the momentum in Lake/Linesville’s favor, he then took to the pitcher’s mound and went the final four innings with just one hit allowed as the locals rallied to eliminate Franklin 9-6.

“What a game,” said Conneaut Lake/Linesville head coach Fred Garvey. “Ryan Richardson put us on his shoulders and carried us.”

Lake/Linesville now moves on to the section championship game. The squad will take on DuBois today at 6 p.m. back at the fairgrounds.

“We play another day,” said Garvey, whose squad will play its fourth game in four straight days today. “It’s attrition. It’s a war of attrition right now.”

The L/L team found itself in pretty dire straits midway through the ball game, with Franklin carrying a 6-1 lead. Richardson had the team’s only run to that point, reaching on an error in the second inning and scoring on an RBI single by Jayden Mihoci.

However, the team’s offense would erupt in the fourth.

Collin Hearn got it rolling with an infield single to short. Then Mason Mihoci walked, and Trent Roncaglione hit a single up the middle to load the bases.

Hearn then scored from third on a wild pitch. Then Alex Nottigham walked to load up the bags again. And Owen Garvey accepted another base on balls to force in Mihoci, cutting Franklin’s lead to 6-3.

Brady Walker hit into a grounder. There was a force play at third, but Roncaglione had enough time to score, making it 6-4.

So, with two on and one out, up came Richardson. And he cranked one out of the park to left field. Three runs came in. Lake/Linesville now led 7-6.

The locals also added an insurance run in the inning. Mason Walker reached on an error and then scored when Mason Mihoci dropped a blooper into shallow left-center.

They tacked on their final run in the fifth. Garvey reached on a fielder’s choice and came around to score on an error.

Any comeback attempt by Franklin was thwarted first by Richardson’s pitching. He gave up one hit, walked two and struck out five over the final four frames

“That was well thought out, well planned by them,” said Franklin head coach Todd Knupp, regarding Richardson’s extended role in relief. “We kind of had some momentum a little bit. And that definitely helped slow things down for us offensively.”

Lake/Linesville’s defense, however, also stepped up big as the game wound down.

Second baseman Brady Walker, well into the grass, held on to a pop fly while tumbling over backwards for the opening out of the fifth inning. He then made a nice stop on a hard-hit grounder and made a quick throw to first for the lead-off out in the sixth.

“Brady Walker, holy cow, did you see the plays he made at second base?” said coach Garvey.

First baseman Alex Nottingham scooped up a tricky bounce for the unassisted second out of the sixth. And right fielder Jayden Mihoci ended the game with a running catch on a fly ball in foul territory.

“I can’t say enough about these kids,” Garvey said. “Proud coach. Proud father. And look at our fans. We’ve never done anything like this. It’s awesome.”

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