Leopards Blanked By Blue Devils in District Semifinals, Finish 20-9 – Baseball
#3 Tallmadge 2, #2, Louisville 0
The #2 Seed Louisville Leopards Baseball Team was shutout by the visiting #3 Seed Tallmadge Blue Devils 2-0 Monday Evening at Andy Aljancic Field. Louisville finishes their first season as an independent with a record of 20-9.
Jordan Shearer pitched 6 1/3 innings gave up just 2 runs on 2 hits and struck out 3 in his final game as a Leopard. Shearer set the tone early by striking out 2 of the first 3 Blue Devils he sent down in order in the first inning. He also retired the side in order in the third and fourth innings.
Louisville committed 3 errors in the field during the second and fifth innings, but Shearer worked out of jams both times. Tallmadge loaded the bases with no one out in the second before Shearer got the next batter to pop out to second on an infield fly rule. The Blue Devils attempted to squeeze on an 0-1 pitch with the bases loaded, but the bunt attempt popped down the baseline and into the glove of a leaping Dillon Rebuck. After he caught it, he ran the ball back and tapped the bag at third to complete a rare unassisted double play.
A pair of Louisville errors put a pair of Tallmadge runners on first and second with one out. But the Leopards defense giveth and the Leopards defense taketh away. Catcher Max Hartline picked up a bunt attempt and rifled a throw to Rebuck at third just in time before the advancing runner slid into the bag. Two pitches later, LHS Second Baseman Dom Mongiardo made a diving stop on his knees before throwing to the outstretched glove of First Baseman Caleb Prasco to steal a single and record the third out of the inning.
The diving stop also preserved Shearer’s no-hit effort through five innings. However, he issued a 5 pitch walk to Sam Seeker to start the Tallmadge sixth and took second on a passed ball. Rich Eyre broke up the no-no and the shutout in the next at-bat with an RBI double on a fly ball to left field that scored Seeker to break the deadlock.
The Devils got aggressive after a catcher’s interference call put runners on first and second. A successful double steal put Eyre on third and Andrew Ayres on second. The next batter grounded out and the following batter walked to load the bases. Norton crushed a 1-0 pitch to deep left center that was dangerously close to clearing the fence for a game breaking grand slam. But the wind knocked the ball down and Left Fielder Bryce Zuppe made the grab. Eyre tagged and scored from third to complete the sacrifice fly to give the defending district champions a 2-0 lead.
The Leopards threatened in the bottom of the seventh by loading the bases with two outs. Broc Pickens walked on four pitches to start the inning as the Blue Devils starter Seeker continued to throw into the seventh. Cam Lingle was next and he delivered with a single on a hard ground ball to right field. The single was Louisville’s only hit to the outfield in the game, but nevertheless the game tying run was aboard with nobody out. The next two Leopards were retired after a failed bunt attempt and a strikeout. Zuppe walked on five pitches after that to load the bases. But Seeker struck out the next batter on three pitches to send the Blue Devils to the District Championship Game against top seeded Norton on Wednesday.
Seeker was dominate pitching a complete game shutout while striking out 9. From the final out of the second inning through the second out of the fifth inning, Seeker retired the Leopards entire lineup in order. Mongiardo got a piece of 1-0 pitch and chopped it into no man’s land between the catcher and pitcher. The infield hit broke up Seeker’s no-hit bid, but did little more as Mongiardo was stranded on first after a fly out to left ended the inning.
VARSITY BASEBALL BOX SCORE
BLUE DEVILS 2, LEOPARDS 0
TALLMADGE BLUE DEVILS BASEBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS
TALLMADGE BLUE DEVILS BASEBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BASEBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS BASEBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS
Records: Louisville 20-9