Potters outslug Beavers
LISBON – The East Liverpool baseball team took another senior night before it counts the most.
Capitalizing on Wednesday’s five-inning shutout of Beaver Local, the Potters took their act to the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center on Thursday for the Beavers’ senior night game, the second of three match-ups this week.
Similar to Wednesday, the Potters sealed the deal in five innings as a grand slam from Ryian Burson and solo home runs from Tyler Recktenwald and Aaron Bombich lifted the Potters to a 21-8 victory.
“Yesterday, we just brought the offense,” Recktenwald said. “We had solid defense, and today it was pretty much the same.”
The Potters (9-10) opened early in the first inning with no one out as Burson hit a grand slam to take an early 4-0 lead, and added another RBI in the second as the scoring frenzy continued for the Potters.
Aside from a defensive struggle in the third inning where the Potters defense got a little shaky and gave up seven runs, the Potters continued to control the game.
“We went out there and had a strong game,” Bombich said. “Aside from that one inning, we managed to pull back.”
Outscoring the Beavers 33-8 over the past two games and taking both regular season games, it looks as though the Potters have the upper hand as the Potters and Beavers begin the first round of the Division II sectional tournament Saturday in Steubenville.
“I think it’s made us stronger going into tournament action,” Bombich said.
“It’s always nice to finish the season with your rivals,” Recktenwald said. “It good to take the series 2-0, then go into the tournament and get the W.”
The Potters appeared to be stronger with the win, and coach Ryan Willis looks forward to the first round of the tournament.
“I think the kids love it, it’s a great, healthy rivalry,” Willis said. “The one thing to take away from this is that Saturday is a new ball game, and I expect it to be a battle.”
The Beavers (6-11), meanwhile, lost confidence after giving up the Ryian Burson grand slam in the first inning, but made up for it in the third with RBIs from senior Caleb Jackson, who led with two for the Beavers, and Zack Boni.
Despite the promising third inning, coach Steve Dawson knew too many mistakes would haunt the Beavers.
“Too many errors, too many mistakes we had been battling all season,” Dawson said. “Routine balls in the outfield we missed, and when it comes to those crucial plays we can’t make them.”
Shane Salyers relieved Ethan Campbell in the second inning after giving up eight runs, and Salyers managed a strikeout before he also gave up eight. Despite the disappointment, Jackson expressed excitement as the series continues.
“It’s really cool to have a three-game series with your rival because you know everyone,” Jackson said. “Everyone’s looking to move on to the next game and try to pull out a win. We just need a more solid defense.”
Jackson seems to show the desire to pick up the victory Saturday, which is what Dawson said the team needs if the Beavers want to go further.
“A lot of times we play with our hearts on our sleeve, and we shouldn’t,” Dawson said. “It’s going to be something that they are going to want, and you’re going to want it, that’s the important thing. If you don’t want it, then it doesn’t matter.”
The first round game between the Beavers and Potters will take place Saturday at A.J. Vaccaro Field in Steubenville. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.
Seniors Ethan Campbell, Caleb Jackson and Chandler Cornell were honored during Senior Night pre-game festivities.
The winner of Saturday’s sectional first round will face Steubenville on May 14.
Steubenville beat East Liverpool 10-0 in the Big Red’s home opener April 1; Steubenville’s April 28 home game against Beaver Local was rained out.
EL-Tyler Recktenwald, wp (2IP, 2K, 5BB), Jay Lane (3IP, 0K, 3BB) and Briar Meek.
BL-Ethan Campbell, lp (1IP, 0K, 3BB), Shane Salyers (3IP, 1K, 3BB), Trevor McLaughlin (1IP, 1K, 1BB) and Bradley Gibson.