ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (May 17, 2023) -- Rocky River has pitched itself into a district semifinal against its old War-by-the-Shore neighbors, the Bay Rockets. On Wednesday, senior captain Hudson Wissman went the route in a five-inning run-rule upset, as the Pirates -- the No. 23 seed in the DII North Ridgeville District Tournament
-- came through with a swashbuckling 11-0 triumph over No. 5 Lutheran West.
With a strong defense behind him and a strong right arm cranking out seven strikeouts, Wissman scattered a pair of singles and four walks in hanging a quintet of zeroes on the scoreboard. In the top halves of those five frames, the River offense had things covered. With three extra-base hits, four stolen bases, seven hits overall, and a flair for the dramatic, the Sons of Blackbeard managed to file crooked numbers in 4-of-5 innings.
"Hudson was in total control on the mound," said coach Ed Piazza. "The defense played flawlessly, and on offense we took advantage of a few walks and got some big hits in the clutch. That's a really good combination."
Rocky River (11-15) plated two runs in the opening inning, three in the second, three in the third, and three in the fifth. The Pirates went 5-of-14 with runners in scoring position. Josh Mommers (single, walk, hit by pitch, stolen base) and Luke Petrus (single, walk, stolen base) were the table setters. Mommers scored three runs; Petrus scored two. Gavin O'Brien (1-for-2, double) and Thomas Rossi (2-for-4, double, four runs batted in, stolen base) cleared the plates. And just plain wrecking the whole dining room was second baseman Anthony Ferchill, who doubled, drew a walk, and was twice hit by a pitch. Ferchill drove in two and scored three.
In the bottom half of each inning, the River offense would take a break and watch Wissman brand the Longhorns with the interlocking Double-R. Lutheran West was mostly fenced in, not threatening a breakout. When it did -- getting a man in scoring position just twice in the game -- Wissman roped the home nine, slamming the gate -- often with a punchout.
For a River squad that has now won four in a row -- outscoring foes 29-5 -- the concern is no longer bulls escaping the barn. The River Raiders are on the hunt, and up next is a battle on the Bay.CANNON FIRE ...
Rocky River will play at No. 8 Bay Monday. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. The Pirates and Rockets split a pair of close games during the regular season. Bay won at River 4-2 on April 18; the Pirates won at Bay 3-0 May 12.HUDSON WHIFFMAN:
With Wednesday's gem, Hudson Wissman lowered his season ERA to 2.45. Since April 18, his ERA is a minuscule 0.83. In 34-1/3 innings pitched the veteran righty has struck out 46 batters.DOUBLE TROUBLE:
Thomas Rossi has now doubled in four straight games. His 11 two-baggers for the season are tops on the team. Rossi is batting .368 (25-for-68) with 11 doubles, one triple, one home run, 20 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases. He has multiple hits in five of River's last seven games.
by Skip Snow