Perry vs. West Geauga baseball: Pirates rally for 2-1 win over Wolverines in nine innings

Apr. 10—Perry and West Geauga needed time to get their bats going in their CVC Chagrin Division contest April 10. But both had strong fielding in the contest as it went to extra innings.

The Wolverines got out to a lead in the third inning, but Perry recorded a run in the sixth to tie the game and took the lead in the ninth.

A line drive to Brody Petruccelli presented a challenging final out. But he dove and tagged the bag before the runner to finish the rally in a 2-1 Pirates win.

Perry improved to 6-1 while West Geauga fell to 1-5.

The Pirates started the game with three straight hits but could not convert them into an early lead. The Wolverines followed suit with lead-off hits in the first and second innings, but both times grounded into 6-4-3 double plays.

The scoring started in the third inning with a unique situation. West Geauga started the inning with a double by Vince Vecchio. Johnny Julian singled to advance Vecchio to third, followed by a steal of second for a pair of runners in scoring position with one out. James Javorek then hit a deep fly ball to center, the runners tagged up, and Vecchio scored from third. But it was ruled that Julian started early, so Perry tagged second for a third out.

However, the appeal was after the score, so the run counted.

The defense and pitching kept it to a one-run game. Owen McKoon guided the field from behind the plate while Jason Pentek threw seven innings and struck out eight.

"We talk about having that grit and needing to grind out games like today," coach Matt Platt said. "We hit some balls hard today that were just at people. We have to be able to stay with it and be able to find the gaps when possible in games like this. Jason can change speeds well, he was spotting his fastball up and he worked ahead of hitters."

With both defenses playing a strong game, McKoon knew that they needed to keep things going strong in the field.

"It's the type of game I really like to be in," McKoon said. "In close games like this one, you really need to be on your A-game. I thought our defense did just that today and we were able to execute."

Perry tied the game in the top of the sixth, as McKoon drew a lead-off walk and stole second followed by a Luke Sivon single and Connor D'Astolfo walk loaded the bases. Logan Buehner hit a ground ball that ricocheted off of pitcher Tyler Fink's leg for McKoon to score.

Both teams had opportunities to take the lead before extra innings but weren't able to punch through.

West Geauga had Javorek draw a walk in the bottom of the eighth and a balk advanced him to second. Brett Ringenbach hit a single to center but Javorek was held at second and Henry Bartlett popped out two batters later.

Perry had Petruucelli single to left and advanced to second on a throwing error. Sam Tharp drew a walk and McKoon came back to the plate with two outs.

He hit a ground ball to short but the throw drew the first baseman off the bag for McKoon to reach and the run to score from third.

"Our hits weren't really dropping today but when we put the ball in play good things tend to happen," McKoon said. "Stealing bases was also big for us to get those chances to have the runs in scoring position to be able to even have a chance to win."

The Wolverines had a chance to answer in the bottom of the inning and both Vecchio and Elijah Gudger reached but Javorek grounded into a fielder's choice.

Since West Geauga returned from its spring break trip, the Wolverines have been in every game. They fell to Gilmour in a walk-off and had a lead over the Pirates after an earlier lead on April 9.

"This is a pair of scrappy teams going for it," Platt said. "They're young and have a lot of talent. They pitched well, threw a lot of strikes and changed speed. We had to grind out our at-bats and it took nine innings to get there but we got there in the end."

Perry returns to its home diamond against Lakeside on April 12. West Geauga remains at home and steps out of conference as NDCL visits April 11.