Pipe Yard magic: Lorain Titans erupt for 7 runs in the sixth inning

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Lorain’s Aaron Andujar, center, gets high fives from his teammates after scoring in the first inning in a Division I Lorain District sectional final played at The Pipe Yard on Wednesday.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Lorain’s Aaron Andujar, left, rests his head on his fist while waiting for Avon’s first baseman Austin Bevins to throw the ball back to the pitcher in the third inning at The Pipe Yard on Wednesday.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Lorain’s Aaron Andujar, right, slides head first to elude Avon third baseman Donny Kelly's attempt to tag him out at The Pipe Yard on Wednesday.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon outfielder Brad Dill makes a diving catch in center field in the second inning against Lorain at The Pipe Yard on Wednesday.

LORAIN — The situation looked bleak for Lorain early on in the Division I Lorain District sectional final against Avon on Wednesday at The Pipe Yard.

The Eagles (14-14) chased knuckleballer Kyle Stumphauzer after a 1/3 of an inning, grabbing an early 3-0 advantage before Lorain (17-9) posted three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.

The Titans answered back again, this time with a seven-run sixth inning to propel themselves to a 12-8 tournament win, claiming a sectional championship.

“That’s a real big win for us,” Lorain coach Brad Ternes said. “We’ve had a hard time the past couple of years getting out of the first round so it feels like we finally might have got that monkey off our back.”

Stumphauzer surrendered a leadoff triple to Avon second baseman Ian Long, who scored when his counterpart overthrew third base attempting to gun him down. Andrew Lee followed with a single up the gut, stole second and reached third when catcher Nate Drabiak couldn’t handle a Stumphauzer knuckler in the dirt.

Kevin Maloney drove Lee home, accounting for the third run of the inning when he was plated by a single by Donny Kelly.

“With a knuckleballer, I’m not going to hang my head,” Ternes said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to get. Sometimes the knuckleball breaks, sometimes it’s hanging. He’ll get another chance to go back out there, though.”

Ternes responded to the early woes by yanking Stumphauzer in favor of Adrian Calez, who coaxed back-to-back fly outs to stop the bleeding.

“I give Brad credit, that’s a lot quicker than I probably would have hooked a guy in the first inning,” Avon coach Frank Desmit said. “But this time of year everyone knows it’s one loss and you’re done. It was the right move.”

The bottom half of the inning began similar to the top as Ryan Osko roped a triple deep to right-center. Andre Morales plated the leadoff hitter with a bloop single to center and reached third the following at bat when Avon starter Alex Tomko overshot first base attempting to pick him off.

Aaron Andujar skied a catchable ball to left, but Lee misplayed the ball, enabling him to reach second and Morales to cross home. Andujar was pushed to third on a fielder’s choice and tied the game at three on a sacrifice fly to right field courtesy of Calez.

“Even though we fell behind, the way we came back in the bottom of the first really said a lot about our kids today,” Ternes said.

The Titans took their first lead in the second when Osko plated Desmond Guice on a sacrifice fly to center before Tomko answered back with an RBI double in the top of the third that knotted the score at four.

Both teams notched another run in the fourth and with the score even at five in the fifth, the Eagles had an opportunity to take a sizeable lead.

A tiring Calez gave up a single to Kelly to begin the frame and walked two batters to bring up Long with the bases loaded and two out. Long took Calez to a full count but the hard-throwing southpaw fanned him to squash the threat.

“We had a couple of weeks there where we were playing really good baseball and getting a lot of two out hits with guys on base,” Desmit said. “When you can get those clutch hits that’s when you’re rolling as an offense and the last couple of games we haven’t been getting as many.”

Tomko plunked Thomas Holloway to start the sixth inning, leading Desmit to bring on reliever Austin Bevins. The Eagles starter (5-2) hurled five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits.

Bevins, however, was not nearly as effective. The first batter he faced, Calez, moved Holloway to second on a sacrifice fly. Bevins issued a base on ball to Billingsley the following at bat.

Catcher Matt Wentz seemingly picked off Billingsley at first for the second out, but in a strange turn of events the call was overturned by the home plate umpire.

Drabiak then singled to load the bases before Bevins surrendered another walk to bring home the frame first run, making the score 6-5 Lorain.

“I’m not going to say the calls didn’t effect our mindset a little bit,” Desmit said. “If nothing else it was just a big momentum shift. We went from two outs with the pick off play back to one out and it kind of just went downhill from there.”

Bevins struck out Hisle but Osko followed by lining a single to left-center to bring home Billingsley and Drabiak. The Titans went on to pelt Bevins for four more runs, giving them a 12-5 advantage heading into the final frame.

Osko finished the day 3-for-3 from the plate with three RBIs and four runs to anchor Lorain’s offensive effort.

“I’ve been struggling lately but today I tried not to be so hard on myself,” Osko said. “I was just finding some holes. The last one was just a blooper that fell in there. It was lucky.”

A gassed Calez was chased in the top of the seventh as Avon rallied to score three runs but Mike Velez came on to record the last two outs and ensure that the Titans advanced.

Calez, who improved to 4-2, went six innings, allowing five runs (four earned), while striking out six and walking eight.

The Titans clash with Avon Lake today at 4:30 p.m. in the Lorain D-I District Semifinals.

Lorain 12, Avon 8

Division I Lorain District

Sectional Final

Avon (14-14) 301 100 3 — 8 8 2

Lorain (17-9) 310 107 x — 12 10 2

TWO HITS OR MORE — Avon: Andrew Lee, Kevin Maloney, Alex Tomko; Lorain: Ryan Oski (3), Andre Morales; 2B — L: Andujar; 3B — A: Long; L: Osko HR — L: Nic Billingsley WP — Calez (4-2); LP — Tomko (5-3).


Last Updated: 5/15/2013 11:26:41 PM EST

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