Crestview scored four of its five runs because of Columbiana errors.
By GEORGE WELKER
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBIANA -- Crestview High baseball coach Greg Rinyo had a simple game plan going into Monday's Division III sectional tournament opener against Columbiana.
He just wanted his players to put the ball in play.
Rinyo never thought the Rebels would get help from a porous Clipper defense, which committed six errors, and Crestview went on to post a 5-4 victory over its Tri-County League rival.
Columbiana's (10-5) miscues contributed to four of the Rebels' runs being unearned.
"If we don't commit the errors, they don't have the five runs," Columbiana coach Bruce Wolfe said. "I attribute errors to [players] not catching the ball and not throwing the ball. After the 15th game, there's no such thing as lack of experience anymore.
"It was a bunch of different people making the errors," Wolfe said. "Sometimes errors start to compound themselves and Pandora's box open's up and you tend to get snake-bitten, and you're not able to shut that door."
Benefited: Crestview (10-11) benefited from Columbiana's sloppy defense immediately, and Clipper errors often started or kept alive rallies.
In the first inning, Andrew Neiheisel led off with a grounder that went through the legs of Clipper first baseman Brett Seybert. Neiheisel later scored on a double by Phil Karnofel.
With two outs in the second inning and the Clippers leading 2-1, Steve Varkony scored on a throwing error from Columbiana third baseman Dean Stokes.
Crestview's only earned run came in the fourth inning, when Josh Louk reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, and then scored on a single by Jacob Pruitt.
"We had a little bit of a game plan to look early for a ball to put in play, and we were going to bunt the ball from the beginning, to make them field it," Rinyo said.
"We were lucky; we were a lot lucky and little bit good."
In regular season games, the Clippers won 3-0 and 5-4 in nine innings.
Swinging quickly: "They were going after a lot of first pitches against Derek [Stanfield] this time," said Wolfe, pointing out that Monday's game was the third time the Rebels had faced Columbiana's ace pitcher.
"They were trying to jump on him. They just thought, 'Go out and get him.' You can't let Derek get ahead of you," Wolfe added.
"When he got ahead in the count, he got the ground balls, which should have been outs."
Crestview's winning run came in the top of the sixth, when Jimmy Neeld reached on a throwing error and went to second as the ball sailed out of play.
He was replaced by pinch-runner Troy Duwe, who advanced to third on a ground-out, then scored on a single by Varkony.
Rinyo said the Rebels were playing "crack of the bat," baseball all evening, trying to score on every hit, because Columbiana possesses a powerful offense.
"When Columbiana gets on top of you, they can roll the momentum and it's tough," he said.
"It's unfortunate that arch-rivals like us have to square off in the first round of the tournament," Rinyo said. "The reason I went here is our kids have played [Columbiana] tough. It's anybody's ball game ... it doesn't matter whether it's on our field or [Columbiana's] field."