HERMITAGE – Perhaps coincidently – but to some degree, by design – Gary Hinkson was on hand for Hickory High’s baseball home opener.
The dapper City of Hermitage manager served as the Hornets’ headmaster through 301 career wins, 3 District 10 titles, and 8 region crowns during his tenure. And on Friday afternoon at The Hive, host Hickory harvested a 4-run 5th frame into a 7-3 win over Grove City.
The win served as the 1st for new Hickory Head Coach Bob States.
“Coach Hinkson’s an important part of this program, obviously. I played for him, I coached with him. He’s an important mentor to me, and it was great to see him. I was glad he was here for this,” States said.
The tilt was tied at 3. But in the home half of the 5th Zac Lanshcak’s 2-run double and Johnny Leedham’s 2-run single hoisted the Hornets. Connor Evans’ hustling infield single, Joey Fazzone’s liner to left, and a walk drawn by winning pitcher Nick Osborne set the table.
That was all the right-handed Osborne required. Through 6 stanzas (103 pitches, 64 for strikes) Osborne’s outstanding line included 3 runs on just 4 hits. He fanned 5 – striking out the side in the 2nd stanza – and walked just 2.
“Listen, Nick Osborne has proved in his career already that he’s a big-game pitcher,” praised States. “As a sophomore he pitched a big game for us in the playoffs, and I had this game circled from the preseason as his game, and he came out and owned it.”
“I did what I wanted to do, worked early (in the count), threw a lot of strikes, and worked on my off-speed stuff. I felt pretty good,” Osborne assessed. “I was throwin’ the ball pretty well. ... The slider was feelin’ really good; it was a hard, sharp slider, and Johnny (catcher Leedham) did a great job back there, too.
“It was an all-around team performance. ... I couldn’t ask any more of them,” Osborne said regarding the 4-run outburst. “They stepped up big – I wish I could’ve done something that inning; I wasn’t able to – but those guys stepped up really big for me, and I can’t thank ‘em enough for it.
“That’s a fantastic baseball team we just beat,” Osborne observed, gesturing toward Grove City’s dugout. “Even though it’s early in the season these games can matter A LOT come postseason time, whether it’s for seeding or whatever, they can come in clutch, so we need this one.”
It was the second 7-3 Shenango Valley setback this week for Head Coach Bill Herman’s always formidable Eagles.
Grove City scored singletons in the 1st, 3rd and 4th frames. Mason Jones’ grounder plated the game’s 1st run, scoring Isaac Criss, who drew a leadoff walk; Michael Brooks banged an RBI-single that squared the slate at 2, then Luke Tubbs tattooed a run-scoring single that knotted the count at 3. But the Eagles etched just 1 more hit through the game’s final 3 2/3 innings.
Hickory (1-1) took a 2-1 lead with 2 outs in the 2nd as three consecutive right-handed hitters – Leedham, Matt Jordan and Luca Bertolasio – went opposite field off Grove City starter Dylan McElhinney. Leedham laced a double – one his 2 hits – and Jordan singled before Bertolasio belted his second triple in as many games.
In the Hornets’ 3rd Fazzone’s frozen rope to left was good for a double, then he came around to score on a wild pitch and errant throw for a 3-2 Hickory lead. The play typified the Hornets’ aggressive base-running.
“That’s something we talked about in post-game and highlighted,” States asserted. “We took advantage of the right opportunities; there weren’t any opportunities that went by without us takin’ advantage of, so, yeah, it was a great effort.”
Grove City’s mound chores were handled by right-hander McElhinney (4-plus innings, 100 pitches, half of which went for strikes, 7 runs on 10 hits, 2 KOs, 2 walks and a hit-batsman) and righty reliever Rowan Perample (2 scoreless innings, 43 pitches, 21 strikes).
The newly-installed synthetic surface field was sun-drenched amidst the post-game celebration, and States said, “I’m thrilled! This week got off to a tough start (a 12-9 loss at Sharon on Wednesday). It’s a tough way to start the season against two rivals. But it feels tremendous to come out here and beat a team like Grove City for our first win of the season and the first win of my career.
“Grove City had a tough loss this week, too (at Sharpsville). This was a huge, huge game for both teams, and it just feels great to come out on top,” States summarized.
Notes: Senior righty Evans closed out for Hickory. He was aided by center fielder Jordan’s tremendous running catch of Coldan Barr’s bomb to right-center. It initiated a unique double play, as Grove City’s Zack Rodgers, who drew a lead-off walk, was doubled off first. “That’s ... there aren’t too many outfielders at this level that are gonna make that catch,” States gushed. “For (Jordan) to get such a good jump and track that ball as far away as it was, that’s just tremendous!” ... Fazzone, Leedham and Bertolasio banged 2 hits each, and Fazzone tallied twice. Bertolasio also drew a walk, reaching base in all 3 at-bats as the No. 9 hitter. ... Evans, drilled by a 2-strike 1st-inning pitcher, stole a base. He, too, reached base 3 times. ... Criss reached base 3 times. He had a hit, 2 walks and a run scored.
In other spring sports events Friday:
• Wilmington 25, Jamestown 0 (4 inn.) – At Jamestown, the Hounds (3-0, 4-0) rolled past the Muskies in the Region 1 encounter.
Wilmington took an early 4-0 lead in the top of the 1st and then plated 9 runs in the 3rd and 12 in the 4th.
Garrett Heller doubled, singled, drove in 4 runs, and scored 4 times for Wilmington while Isaac Schleich tripled, doubled, and had 4 RBI.
Also for the Hounds, Ben Miller had 2 singles, 2 RBI, and 3 runs scored, Dom Seraino ripped a 2-run single and scored twice, Jaret Boyer collected 3 singles, 2 RBI, and 4 runs scored, and Dylan Batley doubled, singled, and drove in a run.
Schleich pitched for Wilmington. He struck out 6 batters, walked 2, and gave up 3 hits.
Jamestown stats were not reported to The Herald.
• Kennedy Catholic 7, West Middlesex 6 – At Hermitage, the Big Reds scored a run in the top of the 7th, but left a baserunner stranded at second base as KC picked up the Region 1 win.
Remington Hart and Davey Cochenour split time on the mound for the Golden Eagles. Hart struck out 4, walked 3, and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits in 4 innings. Cochenour fanned 3, issued 4 walks, and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits.
Gio Rococi (2 2/3 innings), Luke Atterholt (1), Richie Preston (1 2/3), and Kyle Hurley pitched for WM. They combined on 8 strikeouts, 6 walks, and 6 hits.
Offensively for KC, Stargell Fuhr doubled, singled, drove in a run, and scored twice, Cody May had a hit, 3 RBI, and 1 run scored, Hart ripped an RBI double, and Cochenour drove in 2 runs.
For West Middlesex, Hunter Hoffman collected 3 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, Derik Zappa and Hurley both doubled, Lukas Stinedurf had a 2-run single and scored once, and Julian Trott added an RBI single and 1 run scored.
• Sharpsville 13, Conneaut (Ohio) 3 (6 inn.) – At Conneaut, the Blue Devils rolled in the Region 1 clash.
Brock Lenzi (3 innings), Andrew Frye (1), Jackson Doyle (1) and Eli Eckles pitched for Sharpsville. They struck out 11 batters, walked 6, and only gave up 3 hits.
At the plate, Lenzi had a 2-run double and 2-run single, Frye ripped a 2-run triple and singled, Jack Leipheimer and Kaleb Gorichky both collected 2-run doubles, Cameron Williams added an RBI single, and Stephen Tarnoci hit a sacrifice fly.
• Conneaut Area 6, Sharon 3 – At Johnny Pepe Field in Sharon, the Tigers dropped the Region 2 affair.
CASH scored 2 runs in the 1st inning and 4 in the 3rd. The Tigers plated all 3 of their runs in the bottom of the 5th inning.
Ryan Herr led Conneaut Area (3-1) with 2 hits, including a double, and 2 RBI; Richardson doubled and scored twice, and White, Magalip and Kulich singled for the visiting Eagles. Winning pitcher Macico went the distance on the mound, allowing just 1 earned run, scattering 8 hits, and whiffing 3 while walking 2.
Peyton Koss doubled and ripped 3 singles and scored for Sharon (2-1); Jason Stanek collected 2 hits and drove in a run, and Sully Brown added a 2-run double, while Mark Cattron contributed a hit. Stanek went 2 2/3 innings on the mound, striking out 2 and walking 3 while yielding 6 runs (only 3 earned) on 4 hits. Cole Voytik struck out 7 and did not issue a walk in a 2-hit, 4 1/3-inning relief appearance.
• Lakeview 17, Reynolds 9 – At Stoneboro, the Raiders took a 4-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning, but the Sailors plated 11 runs in the bottom half of the inning en route to the Region 1 win.
Kyle Uber homered, singled, drove in 4 runs and scored twice for Lakeview and Chris Mong had a hit, 4 RBI, and 2 runs scored.
Also for the Sailors, Jackson Gadsby collected an RBI single and scored twice, Mason Bevan homered, singled, drove in 3 runs and scored 3 times, Kendall Crocker posted a hit, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Ted Shillito registered 2 hits and drove in a run, and Isaac DeVault added 2 hits and an RBI.
For Reynolds, Haydin McLaughlin belted a 3-run homer, Kolton Wilkinson doubled, singled, and drove in a run, Nolan Reichard had 2 hits and 2 RBI, Noah Geiwitz ripped an RBI single, and Patrick Belback had a hit and 2 runs scored.
Uber (2 2/3 innings) and Shillito pitched for Lakeview. Uber had 6 strikeouts, 3 walks, and gave up 3 runs on no hits. Shillito whiffed 3 batters, issued 3 free passes, and allowed 6 runs on 6 hits.
Ryan Broadwater (1 1/3), Jared Wyant (2), Patrick Belback (1/3), Hayden Calenda (2/3), and Cameron Buckley all split time on the mound for the Raiders. They combined for 5 strikeouts, walked 11, and yielded a dozen hits.
Reynolds committed 7 errors in the game.
• Oil City 6, Slippery Rock 2 – At Oil City, the Oilers picked up the Region 2 win over the Rockets.
Slippery Rock scored a run in both in 3rd and 4th innings. Oil City plated 4 in the 3rd and 2 in the 5th.
No other stats were reported to The Herald.
• Brookfield 6, Jackson-Milton 2 – At Brookfield Twp. Park, Miranda Nicholson and Grace Schultz combined on a 3-hitter as the Lady Warriors (6-2) beat the Blue Jays.
Nicholson started and went 6 innings. She had 12 strikeouts, walked 1, and gave up both runs on 3 hits. Schultz closed it out. She fanned 2 batters.
Brookfield scored 2 runs in the 1st and 2 in the 2nd to take a 4-0 lead. Jackson-Milton plated 2 runs in the top of the 4th to cut the lead to 4-2. The Warriors then scored 1 run in the bottom of the 4th and another run in the 5th.
At the dish for Brookfield, Abby DeJoy ripped a 2-run double, Cara Nehlen drove in 2 runs, Schultz tripled and singled, Autumn Sirochman had an RBI double, and Jenae Pugh collected 2 hits and scored twice.
R. Headley ripped an RBI double for Jackson-Milton and C. Williams doubled and singled.
Headley went the distance on the mound for the Blue Jays. She fanned 2, issued 2 walks, and gave up 8 hits.
• Sharon 5, Rocky Grove 0 – At Buhl Park, the Tigers captured the sweep.
Singles: Jake Auchter def. Noah Rodgers, 6-0, 6-0; Jake Cattron def. Renner Weismann, 6-0, 6-1; Peter Wood def. Tyler Thompson, 6-2, 6-1. Doubles: Ty Chartraw-Nik Hunchuk def. Mallory Wetjen-Desiree Dulaney, 6-0, 6-0; Liam Klingensmith-Peter Wood def. Miranda Gardner-Malee Nolf, 6-0, 6-0.
• Grove City 4, Titusville 1 – At Grove City, Coach Shawn Sowers’ Eagles picked up a win over the Rockets.
Match results were not submitted to The Herald.
TRACK & FIELD
Big Red Duals
Sharon ace Gianna Labbiento captured a pair of wins at Friday’s Big Red Invitational in West Middlesex.
Labbiento won the 1600 in 5:33.9 and took 1st in the 3200 in a time of 11:55.3.
Sharon also captured the 3200 relay and Thoniece Ripley took 1st place in the 100-meter hurdles.
Lakeview girls captured 5 wins – 100 hurdles, 200, 400 and the 400- and 1600-meter relays.
The boys will compete at the Big Red Duals today. Competition starts at 10 a.m.
The following are the girls winners:
3200 relay — Sharon (no names submitted), 10:37.7.
100 hurdles — Redfoot (Lakeview), 17.6.
100 — Ripley (Sharon), 13.4.
1600 — Labbiento (Sharon), 5:33.9.
400 — McKean (Lakeview), 1:08.5.
400 relay — Lakeview (no named submitted), 53.2.
300 hurdles — Anthony (West Middlesex), 50.7.
800 — Lewis (Greenville), 2:36.3.
200 — Reed (Lakeview), 27.3.
3200 — Labbiento (Sharon), 11:55.3.
1600 relay — Lakeview (Alexander, Montgomery, Seddon, Reed), 4:23.4.
Shot put — Rosario (Greenville), 33-8 1/2.
Discus — Bryant (Shenango), 84-4.
Javelin — Callahan (Shenango), 106-11.
Long jump — Vocaire (Sharpsville), 15-7.
Triple jump — Fortuna (Laurel), 31-11 1/4.
High jump — Blatt (Greenville), 5-0.
Pole vault — McGowan (Lakeview), 9-6.