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Stealing a win: Vermilion Sailors edge Clearview Clippers in 10 innings
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Vermilion’s Garrett Koutsopoulos, back, safely slides into home as Clearview’s catcher Jack Bennett fails to catch the ball in the fifth inning on Thursday in Vermilion.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Vermilion’s Ryan Miller makes a sliding catch in the fifth inning against Clearview on Thursday in Vermilion.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Clearview's Roger Engle mishandles a ground ball yesterday against Vermilion on Thursday.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Clearview's Roger Engle pops up the ball in the fourth inning against Vermilion on Thursday.
With one out and the bases juiced in the bottom of the tenth, sophomore Ryan Barnes — who entered the game as a pinch hitter to lead off the inning — made a jump for home on a squeeze play.
Barnes found himself in a rundown on the baseline and began retreating to third.
Catcher Jack Bennett gave chase and attempted to toss the ball to his third baseman to apply the tag, but plunked Barnes. As the ball rolled into the grass along the third baseline, Barnes switched directions and dashed to home for the game-winning run.
“We had to do something to create a run,” Vermilion coach Jeff Keck said. “Sometimes you have to put pressure on the defense and that’s what we did there.”
The Sailors (3-2) led 4-3 after five innings behind a solid outing from Tiffin commit Garrett Koutsopoulos.
Vermilion’s starter hit a rough patch in the top of the sixth, however.
After forcing a fly out to start the inning, Koutsopoulos walked the next two batters before Antonio Melendez lined the ball past the outstretched arms of center fielder Alec Adams, bringing in the tying run.
Koutsopoulos coaxed another fly ball out before he was relieved. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits, striking out four and walking three.
Freshman Caleb Waller moved from shortstop to relieve Koutsopoulos, getting the Sailors out of the sixth inning jam by striking out, Antonio Pagan. Waller allowed only one hit and struck out five over 4 1/3 innings to keep Vermilion on pace.
“He’s just a good overall ballplayer. It’s good to have him step up like he does,” Keck said. “He doesn’t play like a freshman, he plays like a veteran.
Clearview’s starter, Antonio Bennett, went six innings, allowing four runs on three hits, fanning four and walking five. Two of Bennett’s runs and three of his walks came in the first, helping the Sailors jump out to an early 2-0 lead off an RBI single from Nick Dlugosz.
“Our freshman starter did a good job,” Clearview coach Dennis Pihlblad said. “He struggled early, we have to get him through that first inning. But once he settled down he did well.”
Jared Miller came on from first base to take over for Bennett in the seventh and provided quality innings for the Clippers as well.
He kept the home team scoreless through three innings, before walking two batters to begin the bottom of the tenth.
“Once we get off the bus we have to be ready to play,” Pihlblad said. “We’re playing good teams so we have to get motivated early instead of waiting until late of the game.”
Miller gave way to Ryan Vargo, who walked the next batter to load the bags. After forcing a fly out to shallow center, Vargo could only watch as an error determined the game’s outcome a batter later.
“When I came out to the mound, he wanted the ball and I commend him for that,” Pihlblad said.
Both teams host doubleheaders on Saturday as Clearview hosts Rocky River while Vermilion will play Wellington.
Vermilion 5, Clearview 4
Clearview (0-3) 020 101 000 0 — 4 4 0
Vermilion (3-2) 200 110 000 1 — 5 4 2
WP — Caleb Waller (1-0); LP — Jared Miller (0-1).
Last Updated: 4/4/2013 11:36:25 PM EST