NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio (May 22, 2023) -- Rocky River's season came to an end in a hard-fought district semifinal game Monday. A surging-in-May Pirate nine was held in check by strong pitching in a 3-0 loss to the Bay Rockets. Both teams were held to just three hits in what marked the rubber match of a three-game season series.
Bay hurler Tony Buttari did well to keep the Pirates out of scoring position: River went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position for the game. Buttari retired 13 in a row in one stretch, getting out of a first-inning jam and then setting the tome for the rest of the contest. The Pirates would get just three hits (Anthony Ferchill, Rees Heigle, Josh Mommers) in the game. Ferchill's base knock was a double, his third of the season, but he was stranded at third base after Buttari induced a couple clutch ground outs to extricate himself from trouble. That was in the sixth.
Rocky River (11-16) trailed 2-0 at the time. The Rockets plated their two on a bases-loaded single by Jeff Meade in the first inning. Thomas Rossi pitched innings one and two for the Pirates; Heigle went the rest of the way. Both River pitchers logged solid performances, save perhaps for a bit of wildness. Bay managed seven walks in the contest; all three of its runs were scored by batters who reach via a base on balls.
Buttari's final line included seven shutout frames; he allowed three hits and two walks while fanning six.
Bay -- now bound for a DII North Ridgeville District
final against fellow Great Lakes Conference-member Elyria Catholic (Wednesday) -- tallied its final run in the bottom of the sixth. In three River-Bay games this season, the Raiders and Rockets combined to score just 12 runs. That set included a 3-0 Pirate victory at Bay May 12.
"This was not the outcome we wanted, but I am really proud of this team," said coach Ed Piazza, whose Pirates rallied from the doldrums of a nine-game losing streak in April (April 11-27) to later go 5-1 from May 10-22. "The future is bright for this program. I can't wait for 2024."
Six Pirate greybeards -- Sean Connelly, Seamus Clark, Gavin O'Brien, Charlie Russell, Nathan Wing, and Hudson Wissman -- had their Double-R careers come to an end Monday at North Ridgeville High School. They ended things on a date late in May, a date earned with an impressive surge over recent weeks. It was a run of quality baseball worthy of a cap tip.
And perhaps those seniors and first-year-head-coach Ed Piazza started the ball rolling toward something that makes its way to June dates in the future and brackets further down the road.
by Skip Snow
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